Our journeys are stories of our own. This is mine and I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, in spite of being corrected. It is not a guidebook, trip diary or marketing piece for the Sunday paper.
This is semi-fiction: A fictional description of a true story.
– The difference in time or distance did not impact mothers, they were so similar.
– A red helicopter was an ambulance.
– One morning, the neighbour’s kid was seriously injured while rowing.
– Candida’s father felt guilty about teaching him that.
– I didn’t think he should have, as it was absolutely not his fault.
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Chapter Five| The Flying Fifth
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Sail Of Six
From The Stockholm Archipelago to Sandham
Salt, sea, sun.
I wish I could join Candida’s summer cheer. However, that joy wasn’t at all infectious. Hey, I love Mumbai, but in the summers, there is nothing to cheer about. With 40 degrees and sweat, discovering anything pleasant is an odd phenomenon. Anyhow, it is and will always be home. Does it really matter?
“Winters are so dark here. Literally, you know? Sun says hi by 9ish and bye around 3. The blue water becomes a stiff sheet of white ice without boats. I love the water. I’m sure you do too, you have so many beaches back home, right?” Candida then bore into me with a profound metaphor. “Think of a heart monitor, life is in waves. A stiff goddamn line means death,” grumbled Candida.
That morning, we were headed to Sandham to meet Candida’s friend Simone and her family. Sandham is on the island Sandön. It was about an hour’s row from where we were. It is an important natural port in the archipelago.
The cultural impact that Italian pizza has had all across the world is not at all surprising. There isn’t a city in the world without a pizza outlet of some sort. Älskar pizza was just a few steps away from the deck. It is a spectacular restaurant where they serve great pasta, meat and other Italian classics.
Simone was on a sail-vacation with her husband, three kids, and their dog – ‘Pig’. (Funny story: the youngest daughter wanted to adopt a pig, so they adopted a dog named ‘pig’ instead).The six had been sailing for two weeks and had two more to go.
“When I thought of sailing, I had this scene set in my head, you know? Some glamorous celebrities sunning themselves on deck, watching their friends frolicking in the crystal blue waters below, moored somewhere uber Instagrammable,” dreamed Simone. “But you know what I found? For yacht holidays, you don’t have to be famous or even have any experience in sailing,” she continued excitedly.
Apart from the calm of the ocean, there was privacy and the flexibility of being able to explore numerous destinations in one trip. Wow, I’m so sold. I loved the concept.
Laughter masked the truth of them all. On one side, there is the Ekström family. An ideal one – parents, 3 kids, a dog. The six appeared happy together. On the other side, a single mother. I am not strong enough to have ever gone for such a lunch. I admired Candida for that. Maybe I’ll ask her about it later.
Maybe the waves wash off the fears
Or maybe they hide the tears
Maybe one sail is all we need
To stop how we bleed
On our way back to Stockholm (my home-away-from-home), Candida showed me a picture of Simone holding Pig. That picture made her smile. Happy looked good on her.
I gingerly enquired, “Er Candida? Didn’t you think of Adam and his father when you met them?”
“Not really. I have mastered the art of admiring them, without questioning my own. Know this Richa, you only compare your stupid Instagram stories with their highlights,” she looked sideways at the water, “Adam’s father, Andrew, is someone any woman could easily fall for. You saw that, right? I fell too. He was every dream I’d ever had. I am glad that I got to meet the love of my life. Hardly anyone does. However, he was a flirt and I don’t blame him -” she exhaled a homourless laugh, “The most important thing was, he was a doting father to Adam. We waited until Adam could take care of himself. I then gently told Adam without ruining that ‘daddy image’ for him.”
Wow okay. But without Adam’s response, this tale sounded too good to be true.
“Of course Adam was hurt. But more than that, he was grateful that we made sure he lived his childhood in a bubble, free of any tragedies. Right now, he encourages me to respect my life and to choose whomever I love. And about Andrew, well, they are great friends. Oh and I told you, he adores Phil,” Candida concluded smilingly.
If my story was so unique, so different, why would I ever compare? It was not worthy of comparison. To hell with Simone. Huh.
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Chapter Seven: Seven new jobs
If I was a duck, I wouldn’t have to do this job, would I?