My torn sails, my wrecked ship.
There it comes. I feel it again. I feel it in my blood vessels streaming from the neck down to my toes; especially in my toes. They lose self-control once this oh-so-familiar itch enters my body, this aging ship always willing to sail.
Toes can’t be still; they want to go, go far away. I feel it again, twentieth time in a row. On the warm shore of my childhood, one ship is absent. The gap is big and visible from miles away, like a pretty smile with a missing tooth.
The twenty-year-old gap still hopes this ship will arrive before the dock rots. But my roots are short in range, my sails torn and chains of blue eyes are keeping a good grip on me. I want them to let me go somewhere further, try another water and breathe another air.
Unload the cargo, untie the anchor and sail away! If only it were that easy… Here is your safe shore now, they say and roll their eyes. Your cargo is unloadable. The ship is too old for the new waters.
I nod in agreement, but deep down I don’t believe them. Deeper even, I fear they are saying the truth. Can it be? The sea hates a coward. Maybe I should seek a ship specialist, they suggest. I obey.
CHIEF COMPLAINT: The patient is eager, claims to have no ability to keep her toes still.
MEDICAL HISTORY: Includes migraine headaches and a history of voyaging.
PHYSICAL EXAMINATION: HEENT: Without any obvious signs of trauma. Pupils are equal and reactive.
NECK: Nontender, full range of motion.
LUNGS: Clear and flapping in the wind.
SKIN: With multiple excoriations from scratching and exposure to harsh weathers.
DIAGNOSIS: Traveler’s itch, Homesick.
PROGNOSIS: Grim, but curable.
ASSESSMENT AND PLAN: Mrs. Brechtl is a 47-year-old female with compound travel experiences, lived in three countries on two continents. She sustained multiple cultural shocks, possibly leaving mental status changes that on the repeat of traveling will be completely resolved.
All is not lost yet. This ship is not giving up, not ready to be charted at the scrap yard. It will nest its stern in the gap even if one short, last time. If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.
I am told that ship’s anchor never gets scrapped, it is sent to the city whose name it bears. My anchor can’t be ripped out of my inboard and sent to my city, but my city is forever etched on my anchor, no matter how far this aging ship will sail.