24 Dec The Last Song
It is cold and dark on this morning of Christmas Eve. Just moments ago I said goodbye to Mark, who’s leaving Tangaroa in search of new adventures.
I am standing outside of “La Churreria de Santa Florentina”, a place the Marinero José had recommended to me. The shutters are still closed. It is 06:45 in the morning. I am feeling cold and alone.
The smell of fresh Churros is slowly beginning to fill the street and reminds me of when I was a little girl. I spent a lot of time in Spain as a child growing up. And going to the local Churreria in the early morning hours on the weekend was always one of the highlights for me.
In a place, I do not know. A city I had never even heard of before. It seems to be the only comforting thought I can find in this moment as I am standing here, waiting for the store to open.
I feel overwhelmed; my mind is screamingly loud, filled with thoughts – I am trying to calm them down by listening to Matt Berninger’s beautiful voice singing:
“If this was our last song
What would we do then?
If this was our last song
What would we say then?
If this was our last time
What would we do?
What would we say then?”
With every tone and every word I slowly begin to understand what has just happened. I try to organize my thoughts. But there seems to be too many of them.
Within just six months of time, I had gone from being married to the love of my life, to buying a sailboat with a stranger to suddenly being all alone on Christmas Eve.
Tangaroa was exhausted, and so was I. Once again we had been flooded in saltwater. Every cushion and every mattress – all was wet. And cold.
The thought of quitting had crossed my mind. The idea of going back home over the holidays. Of enjoying the comfort of friendly faces and good food. A warm house surrounded by the people you love.
But what would I be leaving behind? Throughout the past five months, since buying Tangaroa, she has become so much more than a boat to me. She has become my best friend and my home. This is my home.
She is my home. She is where I belong.
And not only I was exhausted from this horrifying winter sail through the Mediterranean Sea. – She was too. – And now it was up to me to take care of her. Like she had taken every beating along the way to keep me safe.
Mark leaving the boat was very painful to me. Painful because after five months of spending every single moment side by side, it is like a part of me was suddenly missing. You make plans together and suddenly find them all shattered.
Painful because his departure was also ultimately ripping the band-aid off from my broken marriage. And all those feelings that I had been burying deep inside for the past months started to surface with an unbearable amount of pain.
And painful because with his departure I was also overcome with doubts. Wondering if I was even cut out to do this on my own? After all, I had never planned to be singlehandedly sailing around the world. Could I fix up Tangaroa all by myself? Could I handle this 42-foot beauty alone, maneuver in harbors and make the right calls out at sea? Or was my keeping this dream alive maybe selfish and was I putting us in danger for holding onto it?
Suddenly I get torn away from all these thoughts. The shutters open with a lot of noise. It is just past seven in the morning. I can see the surprise on their faces as they see me already waiting outside. While they continue preparing for a busy day, I order: “Una ración de churros finos y un chocolate caliente” and cannot help but smile.
Walking back to Tangaroa I suddenly start feeling excited. And even though that I am exhausted I notice my steps getting bigger and faster. I pause the ”Last Song” which had been playing on repeat for the past 30 minutes or more. The sky is still dark; the streetlights continue shining the way. The city is asleep. Just street-sweeper vehicles are circling around, making Cartagena look pretty for the festivities.
The empty streets of Cartagena.
I come back home, and as I step onboard my eyes are filled with tears, and my heart is jumping high. I may not have all the answers, and I may feel broken inside. But this is the beginning of a new journey. A journey side by side with Donna and Tangaroa.
I am not alone. And together we will get through this.
I take Donna into my arms, and we share the very first portion of Churros of our new life. My cheers go to Tangaroa. I promise I will look after you. I will never again rush our route against the weather. And I will always keep our safety the priority. I love you.