A Dream at The Harbor – A Short Story

For a friend,

this is the point where we have to part ways,

boarding different vessels to our own destinations.

Still, before the tides come, there is something I have to tell you.

Heed these words of your comrade, for we may never cross again along the journey.

O my friend, do you remember our first encounter at this harbor? I still can imagine clearly your expression, covered by curiosity and optimism. You introduced yourself enthusiastically, but politely. You might did not feel it, but, when I shook your hand, I sensed a warm quiver pulsing through my body. I had a feeling that this friendship would bear an impact to our world, something amazing and useful for everyone. “Maybe our cruises and voyages will be remembered as legends,” I thought.

Can you recall of a storm in the midst of January, who knows how many years ago? On that night, cold and blustery, we were kept awake. In the middle of the foul weather, you gathered your fellows – our fellows – at the lighthouse, circling about a bale fire. The tempest that should have shaken and swept ships instead sparked our flame of fellowship. Friends turned to comrades. As we shared our dreams in the middle of the thundering storm, like the campfire that warmed our bodies on that chilly night, we ignited each other’s spirit and dream.

From that moment on, we worked very hard. Learning from the best shipwrights, we trained ourselves to build a vessel that can sail around the world. Every one of us had destinations and skills of our own, but we were united by the same intention: to show the people in every harbor we visit that life is not to be lived for ourselves; that life is meaningful if we can touch others’ lives and together grow to be better, for the glory of the Creator. We were like a body that functions well if every part works his best to fulfill a purpose. Do you remember about this analogy you yourself described?

Nevertheless, there is no human spirit that does not grow dull. Challenges appeared right before us. Too many things that we faced that it was almost impossible to recall it one by one. Our inability to learn to cox well tribulated us. A strong windstorm instilled fear in our hearts. We encountered too many great raging waves, as if they admonished that ocean was not a habitat for people. It could not be conquered by men, for the ocean was a presence as old and ancient as the Earth itself.

At first, you were still lively and supported all our morale. You motivated us with your inspiring words. One of your analogies I admired is about a dimming fire of passion that can be lightened up again if blown by wind. It reminded us of our destinations, the dream islands we wanted to sail to. Notwithstanding, you forgot one thing: a small fire can also be put off without any trace of existence.

Honestly, I started to worry when I saw an expression that appeared on your face for a second. You were practicing building a mast when I sensed hesitation from your countenance. Our fellows could have ignored other people’s behavior, but that not for me. I observed your wavering spirit, and from that moment on your condition got worsened.

We had ever since never talked, let alone attempted to realize, our dreams. You were often silent or acting foolishly on trivial matters that had nothing to do with your dream. There were no more speeches on passion or discussions about what we should do to master a certain lesson from a class, whereas you were our leader whom we counted on the times like this. You used to have everything none of us did: vision, standard, idealism, and, most importantly, passion and morale that convinced our comrades and me that you were the one we should imitate. A wise man once said, “A purposeless person is to be pitied more than a poor man.” Where did the great vision of yours flee to? Was he gone swallowed by the ocean, the person whom I admired?

I was grateful to be counted among the blessed ones, when I was gifted with the power to not give up. Could it be that all your qualities were granted into my hands? I tried to convince myself that such thing could not happen. Even now, I am still who I was: introverted, a terrible speaker, and set only on the dreams and tasks in hand. Unfortunately, without me realizing, I started to drift away from our fellowship. I thought we all changed, but to different directions. All our friends and you were busy with insignificant matters and were not wholehearted in preparing for our graduation exam: building our own ships and sailed on it from this port to the island across the strait. I tried endlessly and tirelessly to rebuke you and our friends to prepare the best for the exam. While practicing as excellent as I could, I attempted to inspirit our fellowship like I used to do. My effort was fruitless back then. All of you stood motionless and instead turned mocking me. Eventually, the preexisting distance really could not be abolished. Every one of us had decided of his own path.

And, the day of the final test arrived. Woods, nails, sandpapers, saws, and other materials had been provided sufficiently for each person. However, we could add parts of the ships according to the design we had devised. I observed only a few people who planned their vessels carefully. Most of us did not try with all they had. They included you, working on the ships with whatever there was. I guess that was what a fruit from a broken branch describes.

About two months from the beginning of the exam, all the ships should have been completed and ready to set sail. Dozens of sails were spanned, waiting for the cues from the masters. Some of the ships, including mine, installed a customized propeller at the stern. Others, on the other hand, relied only on the powers of wind and oars. The trial of Maiden Voyage then ensued. Several ships sank along the way, but almost every vessel arrived at the port in the island across safely. However, the average travel time of this test was very close to the normal limit. Fortunately, the fastest ships broke the record of the travel time of the exam, relieving the masters of their worry of lack of successors. The grandmaster declared all of us passed the exam and let us to sail anywhere we wanted with our vessels while representing all our teachers’ hope that we could learn more in our destinations.

Friend, here we are, at the harbor from where we would sail separately. Before we board our own ship and venture to the unknown, I have final questions and words for you. Listen carefully, for by these words we part. Have your destination changed from what you initially planned? What do you want from and in your life? Have you thought about the future thoroughly? Answer these questions to yourself, comrade, for our maiden voyage will soon begin. What our dreams and we will become, everything starts here, at this harbor. I bid you goodbye, friend. Hopefully at one point in each of our adventure we can meet again, and I pray that at that convergence we have realized our dreams.

Adieu, for now. Amen.

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