Fall 2016 (Volume 20, Issue II): 20th Anniversary Issue
BJ Are You There?
CAT THOMPSON WYATT
BJ ARE YOU THERE?
“Leave a message after the horn or not.”
Tone was a Foghorn, not a tone or beep.
“BJ, BJ are you there? Your answering machine sounds like it is outside by the lighthouse. Your tone was a foghorn so I’m not sure this message is being recorded. Remember when we could only hear a foghorn? You were hoping we could find the navigation lights and markers into the port but none were visible. Couldn’t see a foot in front of the bow. You had me lay on the deck hanging out over the very tip of the bowsprit holding that 15 million candle power spotlight. The fog, thicker than pea soup. You navigated us–the sailboat, you and me–through the dangerously narrow, switchback boulder lined jetties leading into the docks at Bodega Bay. I–Oh–just in case you didn’t recognize my voice this is your mermaid out of water–Cat–calling, trying to find you. I know it’s been 23 years but I still think of and remember you and me and that fateful night off the Channel Islands. I have something I need to tell you! BJ are you there? Where is there? Are you still at the marina. I need to hear your voice. Not a pre-recorded message. BJ is this the right phone number? I heard your wife left and that you’re doing okay. I’m doing okay too but I’m hoping you’ll come visit me. Living here with grey dust, red dirt, and humongous–size of your old Jeep–tumbleweeds everywhere you look, it’s as if the ocean doesn’t exist. Who would have thought I’d be living so far inland? Bet you’re laughing at me right now. Please bring salt water, sand and seashells; it’s been far too long since I heard sounds of seagulls or waves lapping at a kelp and broken seashell-littered shoreline. When you come try to get a seagull to follow you here.
“Directions to my house are easy. Start at Elliott Bay marina on Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean with a full tank of gas, head east on I-90; go until you run out of gas. You’ll be right in front of a Conoco Mini Mart. Fill your tank again and drive until you run out of gas. This time if you are lucky and you kept your lead foot off the accelerator, you’ll be across from a Chevron station. Fill the gas tank again, drive until the gas gauge needle is exactly on one-half. Turn right onto Lost Moon Drive also named Over The Moon Road; your GPS will show you’re going south. Continue until gas gauge needle is pegged on E. Look to your left, and park. Walk, following the narrow zigzagging switchback rock lined dirt path uphill, about 500 feet. A little stone-faced cabin with a glowing red lantern will be in the window. I’ll be waiting. I’ll always remember that time when our sailboat limped into the harbor at Santa Barbara after being heavily damaged by that rogue wave. There wasn’t much left above board just the twisted, mangled safety lines, the snapped mast, bent in half, dangling from the wire rigging. The sailboat, you and I looked as if we had been tossed into a washing machine without the spin-dry cycle. Trying to dry everything–the boat was very colorful and decorated with everything including our underwear, from inside the boat, making it look like a wash day on a junket boat in Shanghai. While things dried–you and I walked around town holding hands, thankful we had survived the storm. Please come before the winds change the signs of cats’ paws on the sand.
“BJ are you there?”