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↑ Vantage pt for Jay Levine at tippity top of crow's nest before he jumped.

Das Boot: the first and perhaps most profound of the Dreamscape categories in that it describes not only the day-to-day adventures of a Caribbean escape, but also a moment that was much of a fulcrum or a rubicon for everyone involved, both a gathering and a dispersal. They were all twenty-four or twenty-five years old, an age where everything in the past seems like prologue and the next turned page is where the story really begins. There was a lot of debate about what comes next: plans hatched, destinies reconsidered. And soon after: Sebastian heading for Brazil, Christoph to Argentina, Helene to New Zealand, our pal Jayson and Natalie both to New York City. And the more we studied these pages, the stronger the urge became to apply allegory and deeper significance to everything that was written. And although 'reality' strongly resists such neat and tidy structuring, nonetheless here it is.

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Das Boot i (21/33)

December 19, 1990

Choose a different dreamscape

“The days drift by too quickly,” Sebastian says, “without some movement, some motion. It was morning. Nice morning. Then: pfft. Night.”

So tomorrow we hoist anchor again. All hands on deck. Raise the jib… the fisherman… the trunket… the mainsail! Ready about, hard a lee! 5am wake up, 6am departure. Retracing steps perhaps never retraced in reverse (if that makes any sense). Back to Kingstown (St. Vincent) where Natalia (+ myself) checks into ferry transport to St. Lucia; where I seek hot sauce of the hottest variety; and Christoph researches necessary appointments and diplomatic meetings and bureaucratic entanglements. 

But first! Today: woke in unwarranted elation which quickly dipped, inexplicably toward depression. Perhaps Hemingway’s “Short Happy Life…” could share partial blame. A story of acquired courage, you see, and perhaps it hits home because on this trip, as so often with Sebastian, I feel a vague and nagging fear. Actually fear for life + limb, in this case. In the story:

“Do you have that feeling of happiness about what’s going to happen?” -Francis Macomber.

“You’re not supposed to mention it.” – Wilson

“But you have a feeling of happiness about action to come?” -M

“Yes. There’s that. Doesn’t do to talk too much about all this. Talk the whole thing away…”

And that’s what I want: joy, anticipation for coming events rather than a vague unease, discomfort, fear… apprehension… 

In this case: fishing along the coral reef that separates our semi-sheltered spot from the vastness of the ocean. Fear of what? Sharks, I guess. Deep water. Waves. Drowning. “A coward dies a million deaths. A brave man but one.”

Also in the story:

“By my truth, I care not; a man can die but once; we owe God a death, and let it go which way it will. He that dies this year is quit the next.” -Shakespeare. 

So we went snorkeling along the reef and encountered only magnificent coral, innumerable silver flashing fish, the huge, gray bubble of the sky pressing down from above. Meditative. Therapeutic. Only minor discomfort: blistered feet… A wonderful experience. So why? And why not? Must we always push ourselves further, testing the limits of our better judgement to find our better selves? For now: Yes!

So my depression, it turns out, may have also been partly due to an emerging cold sore that, true to tradition, accompanies my sunburned back. Thank god for Herpecenic. Already it feels better. 

Scrubbed some more boat. Snorkeled. Read. Played 5 games of chess… won 3. Cold rum+Coke. Delicious dinner. My companions snooze, now, at 8:45pm, because of the untimely departure mañana.

Cut my feet on coral, conch shell, fishing hook, fishing line, rock, prickly grass, rudder stay and flipper that fit too tight. Poor feet.

And I’ve misplaced my Naipaul. Oh well.

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