Paradise Rediscovered – a Mystery Unfolds

A story in Installments – Part 1

The rigging clanked against the mast and seagulls cawed, both familiar sounds, as I turned over in my narrow bunk.

“Hey sis, you awake?” I asked, as I stared at her little face, her eyes closed, her dark curls covering her head, her thumb still half in her mouth.

She mumbled something and turned over, pulling the thin sheet over her eyes, to block out the bright sunlight pouring in through the portholes.

Kneeling on my bunk, with one knee on Robin’s bunk, I pushed open the hatch and poked my head out to get a view of the foredeck.

It was hard to believe that just last night I’d been kissed for the first time, so romantically, by the beautiful Polynesian Julian Rober, at this very same spot, with the soft mist dampening our faces until Robin had caught us and hissed, “Stop that! That’s gross.” Little sisters could be irritating at times, especially when they didn’t know they were ruining the best night of your life.

We’d been guests of honor at the village luau and dance a few days earlier, where Rober and I danced, heart to heart, and I felt definitely much older than 11. He was a head taller than I was, but still smooth cheeked, so I guessed he must have been about 14 or so.

For the past two weeks, since we had arrived at Tahuata, in the Marquesas Islands, I had loved to watch him and his friends as they paddled up to our boat and then played the ukulele and sang songs. His hair was straight and brown, his eyes big and soft, his chest smooth and strong. I’d count each drop of water on his chest and nod along with the songs I didn’t understand but loved to hear. Then he’d dive into the water, and wave goodbye, and my heart sang for him until the next time we’d meet.

But this morning we were scheduled to leave. Just when I had fallen head over heels in love with this gorgeous island boy. He’d kissed my cheeks, my forehead and even, very gently, my lips, our mouths pressed together, like tiny butterflies – touching and flying away, landing and flying.

“Hey Mike,” called my sister, (no one in my family called me by my full name, Michelle), “Where’s Mom and Dad?”

“What?” I asked.

“They aren’t here.” She answered, her voice high and squeaky.

“Of course they’re here,” I said. “Where else would they be?”

On a 49’ yacht, there’s only so many places one can hide, so it didn’t seem logical to me that Robin couldn’t find them, and since we were anchored out in the bay, it wasn’t very likely that they had gone ashore, at least not without telling us. I hopped up the companionway and into the cockpit. A quick check revealed that they weren’t in their bedroom, the aft cabin.

Holding on to the handrail, I looked over the transom. The dingy was still there, bobbing up and down in the little breeze.

Where were they?

(to be continued, next week!)

Photo by Artem Pochepetsky on Unsplash

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