Boat away

The Duty Free shop on this boat wants £7.99 for a packet of biscuits. It might be free of duty, but it’s clearly got something else added to it. In front of me, a passenger was buying cigarettes and was so seasick I thought she was going to puke inside her mask. She was doubled over at the counter, monosyllabic and panting but she still stuck her card on the machine correctly. We’ve only just started this crossing. The sea is really pretty calm. Cigarettes plus mask won’t help with not feeling sick. You need to be able to breathe. It looks like she’s in for a rough crossing.

Me? I’m fine. I’m hungry. But I’m fine. I’m regretting not saving that final Mornington Hotel sandwich for dinner. The only option on this boat is the school canteen. You have to eat it on the pull out table in your chair. It costs the same as biscuits and it looks like slop. I’m going to stay hungry. I’ll find breakfast in Poole tomorrow morning. After a month of croissants I’m after bacon and eggs. We get in at midnight and I’m having to let myself into somebody’s Airbnb bungalow in the dark so I can crash out ahead of hunting breakfast, visiting in Portsmouth and eventually getting to Brighton.

Technically I can charge my phone at my chair but I only brought a wire with me and it’s a plug socket instead of the USB I expected. Book and plug are in the car, as once again I remember in the moment that I’m not so good at thinking outside of the moment.

Not that I can complain. I get to sit right at the front of this boat. There’s Guernsey, up ahead, and there’s that line of light to my left where the sun is drowning in the ocean.

For the next hour or so I’ll be able to enjoy the sea view and pretend I’m the captain. I might even be able to sneak down to the car deck when we get to Guernsey and grab the plug and book. This boat is fully sold out. Very different to the one I took to get to Jersey. Things are changing.

I’ve been in Jersey for over a month. I’m not sure if this boat feels more like it’s going home or leaving it. I’m going back to things that have become familiar, to larger volumes of people I can call deep friends. I have a roof over my head on the north side of the channel. I still pay for it but at least I can call it mine, despite the fact I’ve rented out the spare room, filled my bedroom with boxes and chucked out my bed. I can sort that out when I’m back in London. Brighton first. Movement again. I love movement. Time to do some work, perhaps, and plot what’s next. But movement seems possible again. And there’s no time like the present.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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