Many people fly from Alaska to Mexico for two weeks in the winter. We are probably the only people to fly from Mexico to Alaska for two weeks. The end of March is one of the more dreary times to visit Alaska. The snow is still melting, the trees and grass have yet to start showing signs of life, and everything is gray; the sky, the streets, and the trails.
But when the boys and I walk through the door at my brother’s house where the whole family is gathered, everyone’s face lights up like tropical sunshine. “Surprise!” I say beaming. “Sas, where did you come from?” Nobody can quite believe that we came all the way from Mexico. “We didn’t want to miss the family dinner!” I reply.
Hugging everyone makes the long trip worth it. Soon, Graysen and Rylan are playing with their cousins and I have a glass of wine in my hands. I am so thankful to be there!
The two weeks fly by with family walks, shopping trips, friend dates, and dinners. I feel like a ghost… not really supposed to be there and my existence only temporary. Graysen and his cousin Skye are inseparable. I call Matt through Google voice since I don’t have a cell phone.
I pay special attention to my father, who has Parkinson’s. He is slipping away before our very eyes. I want to hold him and tell him I love him, but that is not the way it is in our family.
One morning Matt calls me on my parent’s land-line. I feel like a teenager taking the call in the kitchen. “Did you see the e-mail I sent you about the boats?” he asks. “Yeah, I saw it…” I answer, unsure of where he is going since he is always sending me sailboat advertisements. “Well, I think the one in Rio Dulce is a steal, and I should go down and check it out.”
Rio…. Dulce. You mean the same place we bought our last sailboat? The one we abandoned because we didn’t have the means or the skills to reconstruct it? The place where we started the cafe and gave it up to our business partners, who refused to pay us?
Yeah, that place.
But the excitement in his voice is unmistakable. It is a quality I have not heard in him in a long time. I want him to be this excited about life always. We have always talked about having our young children on a boat… why not now when we have no other plans or obligations?
I tell him to go.
I have one foot in Anchorage and the other on a sailboat in Guatemala. I resist telling my mom because I know she wants me and her grandchildren back in Anchorage. I will miss having coffee with her and talking about current events with my dad. But I must also live my own life. And my life, it seems, is about to take another turn.