Ferry Boat to Friday Harbor
Martie was terrified of deep water. After she boarded the ferry boat to Friday Harbor in the Sah Juan Islands she quickly found a place to sit far away from any railing. And she was not thrilled about spending any amount of time on an island. When she was little she thought islands were floating land. The thought of nothing but deep water under the island terrified her. That early life memory still lingered in her mind. Of course, she knew better now, but still felt uncomfortable about what was beneath an island.
The ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor took only about an hour, but that was too long for Martie. Once they docked she could not wait to get onto land. When she stepped off the ferry she hesitated for a few seconds, wondering what would happen if she jumped up and down. Would I fall through to the water underneath?. The thought made her feel silly and she even wondered if she said that out loud or just in her mind. She quickly looked around at people just to verify she did not say it out loud. Then a man about her age said, “First time on an island? You look a little worried. I remember my first time on an island and I was afraid I would fall through the ground and into water underneath,” he laughed at himself. Oh good grief, I did say it out loud! “No, Ma’am, you did not say it out loud. I am very psychic and can hear what people think if I focus on them. You looked bewildered when you stepped on land so I focused and heard your thoughts,” he took off his hat and said, “Excuse me, please, for being so forward. My name is Weird Fred, at your service.”
Martie woke up when a voice on the loud speaker announced they had docked and passengers could now go down to the lower deck to disembark. “Oh good grief! It was a dream. Weird!” She did say that out loud and a man sitting not far from her said, “Excuse me?” Martie looked over at him. “Oh! Sorry. I just had a weird dream and didn’t realize I said that out loud.” She almost expected him to say, “You didn’t say it out loud.” Oh, boy! she thought, I am losing it. “Can I help you downstairs with your packages?” She gathered up her two large totes which were bulky and stood up. “Oh, no thank you. That is kind of you, but I think I can manage.” When they got to the stairs she had to go down sideways like a crab because the stairwell was narrow and her bags were too big. “Here! Let me help you down,” the man said and she gratefully handed him one tote bag. “My name is Greg,” he said as he took the bag from her. “Hi, Greg. I’m Martie.”
“The ramp is open. It is now safe to disembark,” the loudspeaker squawked. “Disembark!” she muttered as they stood in line waiting for everyone to start moving forward. “Why don’t they just say get off the stinking boat!” Greg laughed. “I take it you don’t like boats?” She tried to laugh but just a nervous cackle came out. “I have never been on a ferry boat and it scared the heck out of me. I have never been on an island either, so I am afraid I am a bit nervous and sarcastic today. You’ll have to forgive me, please.”
“Oh! No problem. I really understand. The first time I had to take a ferry boat I was just fourteen and terrified. Deep water scares the sh… uh, heck out of me. As for islands I never liked them either, but finally got used to it. The first time I stepped foot on an island I …”
“Let me guess! You thought you might fall through the ground into deep water?” Greg gave her a surprised look. “Yes! That is exactly what I thought!” She stared up at him. “Are you sure your name is not Fred?”
“Huh?” Greg was puzzled. She smiled. “Oh, just that dream I had upstairs. You see …” The line started moving and she said, “I’ll tell you later.”
“Oh, that’s nice! We have a later. I am glad to hear that.”
When they finally got off the ferry, they both looked down at the ground. “Well, it doesn’t look like we are sinking,” Greg said. They both laughed. “I have a few hours before I have to get a taxi,” Greg said. “You want to get a coffee or something? Do you have time?”
“I do, yes. I don’t have to be at my sister’s little boy’s birthday party till 4:00. Coffee sounds good, thanks.” They found a small sidewalk cafe and each ordered a mocha. “We now have another thing in common,” Greg smiled. “Love my mocha!”
“Oh! Me, too. The first one I ever had was in Seattle a few years ago and I love it. Oh, what a relief to sit these bags down for awhile. I feel like I have been carrying them forever. Thanks for helping me, Greg.” He sat the one he was carryig down by her chair and took off his backpack. “No problem. You said you have a birthday party to go to?”
“Yes. My nephew Allen will be two years old. I promised him I would be here for his big day. They just moved over here a few months ago and I really miss them. My sister and I are so close.”
“That’s great! You’ll never guess where I am going and have to be there at 4:00,” he pulled a package wrapped in Panda bear paper and showed her. “Your kidding! You are going to my nephew’s birthday party?”
“Yep! He is my nephew, too. I am Joe’s brother.” Martie couldn’t believe it. “You’re not! Oh my gosh! This is too weird. I knew Joe had a brother, but it didn’t dawn on me when you said your name is Greg that you are the brother I have not met yet.” They laughed and shook hands. “Then Martie must be a nickname for Martha?” Martie smiled. “Ohhh, yes! Julie still calls me Martha, so does Joe. Allen calls me Auntie Moth!”
They talked and laughed about so many things that the time just flew by. By the time they got to the house they felt like old friends. On the ferry ride back to Anacortes they talked so much that Martie forgot her fear of deep water.
And thus began a life long loving relationship on a ferry boat to Friday Harbor.
© 2016 Phyllis Doyle Burns