Traveling With Friends

Published July 21, 2015
We play the Newlywed Game even though we are the opposite. We are four couples– all married close to three decades. We travel Italy on a boat. Close quarters. From the moment we step onboard, until the moment we get off eight days later, we are together—morning, noon and night. We take turns, three years in a row, getting the Master Bedroom. This year was my turn. For a week straight, we don’t wear shoes. Boat rules. We dance on deck to Marvin Gaye. We laugh at shrewd one-liners. Everything we eat is delicious: arugula, pasta pomodoro, figs. All different than in the United States. One bright morning, Italian men in row boats paddle us inside the Blue Grotto singing, “Volare oh ohhhh, Cantaree, oh oh ohhh.” The light through the cave, glorious. We swim–the sea electric blue. We know each other: The Control Freak, The Picky Eater, The Electronic Genius, The Bloody Mary Lover. We share everything. We negotiate and compromise. For this week, we are married to each other. Late one night, we journey from Ponza to Sardinia, a 16 hour, overnight expedition. We sit at the bow and stare at the stars looking for: Orion’s Belt, The Milky Way, The Big Dipper. I am uneasy because we are alone in the middle of the sea, no land in sight. I think about explorers, the bravery. No electricity, no radar, no knowledge of what lay ahead. The night wind blows, the sea waves break against the boat. Around us, darkness—the only light from the stars above— and the Shabbat candles, four sets, burning bright in the main cabin.
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