Of course, I was at the stern of the ship, not the bow, leaning against the rail alone and high above, watching the churning maelstrom of Atlantic seawater trail forever into the evening's horizon, the sun already set below the waterline but its radiance lingering in every shade of pink, rose and purple that reflected from the cirrus cumuli of cloud cover that floated over the ocean. Who says I can't be The King from the back of the boat? I like this metaphor; Leonardo can have his masthead, and I will claim the rear. My reign as the Ruler of Hindsight remains, at least for tonight, unchallenged!
I suppose it's easy to be prone to such delusions, when your mind and body are tired yet invigorated; your psyche lifted by the company of good friends and good people. I've performed twelve shows, all to rousing expressions of joy from the passengers who ventured into our darkened theater on this cruise liner, my brilliant piano partners making it all so easy. I re-explored an island or two and had no adventures of any sort other than the cruise itself. I took ill for a night a broke a fever. I ate bucket loads of salmon and salad. I got some sun but kept my cool.
Swirling waters. Waves of black and shades of light all retreat from me, gone forever, to exist forever. Hindsight. I know exactly how I got here, in every way. If I could only see where I'm going. I can't, but I discern it, sense it, hope for it. I need my friends and my dad and family and I need music and...
I imagine jumping - diving, though I do not dive - into the great boiling, receding waters fourteen decks below me. I imagine losing my balance and falling, the rail giving way... I imagine being pushed from behind. I see myself bobbing and fighting, flailing and screaming against dark waves, as the ship pulls away without me. I become afraid; I feel the horror of life leaving me behind, with nothing but complete loneliness and despair for company in the darkening night, the chilling water. I hear myself, in my mind, say to the vast emptiness what I want to be my last words, when I accept that I will die... "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
I turn around, shaken, and retreat back into the ship. I don't stay morbid for more than a few heartbeats. I return to myself, to the warmth, to my place in the world, and I am ok now, tonight. Tomorrow. I'll be King of the World, again, soon enough.