No one is ever prepared for what comes next.
Emily Erin closed her journal after writing the sentence. This was her last day at work. Cleaning out her desk, she stumbled upon a brochure tucked in the corner. The loss of her job added to the inevitable change coming her way. She turned the brochure over. There was something about the pictures. She read the pages. A sailing vacation cruise would put her on top of the deepwater per the colorful four-page brochure she held in her hands. She touched the white sailboat on the blue water. The magnificence of the picture entranced her. The scenic beauty caught her breath. Memories flooded from her past.
“I saw this place.”
Emily felt the tug on her heart. Sailing was a mystery she could master. At age eight she also wanted to learn to swim after her accident. Being on a sailboat cruise might be like stepping off the grid.
“Or falling off the grid.”
She read the words aloud.
“Water surrounds the boat, miles of beautiful shoreline await, and only the seagulls disturb the evening glow.”
If she could relax on a boat cruise, her real feelings might take over and make her feel more alive. The knowledge gained from sailing could be very useful. She opened her journal. Speaking softly, Emily wrote.
“The sun looked down and created warmth over cooler water. Clouds and other masses developed. Ripples appeared on the water as kisses. The boat headed straight toward the ripples and the miraculous wind moved the craft forward. The hull’s shape enhanced the movement until the ship’s wheel steered us toward paradise. We were beyond virtual reality, aka VR.”
She picked up her cell phone to call the 800 number. Emily stopped. She touched the gold chain necklace around her neck. A lifeguard gave her the special necklace years ago. Encouraged by the warmth of the chain, she made the call to the Shane A. Hanigan Company regarding the sailboat cruise on Lake Superior. She wanted the words in her journal to come true. In her imagination, the trip was possible. The dullness of her life could be wiped out if there was a spot for her on the boat.
She sent her application and a picture of herself. A week went by and there was no call from the Shane A. Hanigan Company booking agent.
In desperation, Emily spoke to the stars one evening asking fate or someone to open the magical door. She didn’t care about which door.
“Well, maybe a good-looking guy or two on the sailboat wouldn’t hurt. Oh, and some excitement, too.”
Her best friend, Cari Higgins, would have told her to be careful. Wishes sometimes are answered.
Emily took matters into her own hands. She called the direct phone number for the company. A secretary put her on hold.
A man came on the line, “Dad?”
Emily stammered, “No, this is Emily Erin. I’m waiting to find out if my name made it as a guest crew member onto your next sailboat cruise.”
“Thank you for calling. I see your application on my computer. I’ll have my secretary contact you.”
Fifteen minutes later, Shane Hanigan’s secretary called her back. An opening on the cruise did occur. Emily gave them her credit card number.
Emily excitedly called Cari to let her know she was accepted for the beautiful sailboat cruise on Lake Superior.
“Are you sure you want to go sailing?”
“Yes, I am so excited, I can hardly wait! A door has opened,” said Emily.
“Oh, no, not a door. You didn’t talk to the water again?”
“Yes, maybe. Then I became frustrated when no one from the Shane A. Hanigan Company called after I sent my application. I called their business directly. I think I talked to the owner.”
“You talked with Shane? Emily, go look at his profile on the company website.”
Emily pulled up his image and read his biography.
“Wow, one good-looking guy, lots of degrees, and sandy color hair. He has nice eyes, too.”
“Well, then you must absolutely buy some gorgeous sailing clothes. You know drip-dry, crushable clothes that you can handwash. Also, you need to get your medicine refilled.”
Emily went shopping. Along with the rest of her clothes, she bought two swimsuits, a black one-piece, and a red bikini. She called back Cari for help in making a choice. Emily texted pictures of her new clothing items. Her friend encouraged her to take both swimsuits and dump the baggy sweats. At the last minute, the red bikini was left at home because her backpack was full.
“Shane won’t be on the cruise.”
She laid her sweatpants out to wear the first day. The rest of the nice clothes would suffice for the trip. Emily didn’t know she would get to step out of her comfort zone. She didn’t realize she was headed into experiences that were way beyond the normal and would test her limits.
Never in her wildest dreams would she believe a murderer could ride into her midst. A boat stalled in the water would become an unpredictable event. Love could approach faster than a powerful gale in a Great Lakes storm if a person wasn’t prepared. Not in any order, she would feel fear, chaos and stress enter her life besides a great adventure.
After her cruise ended, Emily’s course would be permanently altered. She would again write in her journal,
“I touched paradise.”