The Talisman: Part Two by Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez

Photograph by Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez
From The Spider Lady and Other Short Stories and Poetry

Continued from: https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2019/08/14/the-talisman-part-one-by-mark-alberto-yoder-nunez/

Perhaps it was the talisman but I took my savings and signed up to join the merchant marines.  Soon I would be leaving everything that was familiar behind.  People said I was still a young man so it was a good thing to see the world.  I wrote a letter to my mother who was in the land bound town I grew up in, the place I left because I couldn’t stand the thought of always wondering what was over the next hill.  This thought had vanished when I found the open sea stretching out before my eyes.

Before I was to leave I went back to find the curio shop where I had found the talisman.  It wasn’t there.  I traced my exact steps from the pier that day when I had encountered the little shop with the beautiful, oriental lady.  I knew these little lanes along the waterfront by heart.  I tried to find the corner I turned but only found the same familiar lanes and shops.  There was no oriental curio shop.  There was no vacant shop in its place.  It was as if I had imagined it or dreamed it but the talisman was in my possession.  I had it in my inner coat pocket.  I felt delirious.  Had I been lost?  I wandered farther in surrounding areas but these places, also familiar to me, did not make sense with the memory I had of that day when I found the shop, the lady and the talisman.

     With the merchant marines I traveled the world over and over.  I realized the dream of mine to visit the South Seas and the Orient.  This was only after many a cold journey in Northern waters to places like Finland and Sweden.  I enjoyed England, France and the Mediterranean.  My first storm at sea was the most incredible display of the power of Nature, beyond my imagination.

     When I finally was bound to the South Seas of the Pacific and the Orient beyond I was overjoyed at the leaping dolphins in the sparkling blue waters.  I was amazed by the flying fish skimming over the waves amid bright reflections.  There were the hot, summer nights so balmy with the iridescent glowing spots of mysterious night fish.   I felt in a wonderland.

And then there was the Orient.  I found myself wandering down streets and narrow lanes in Hong Kong and Shanghai.  These were places I had heard of and read about and I was there.  It was like hundreds of Oriental curio shops.  I was surrounded by them.  Mysterious Oriental men, mysterious Oriental women and children.  The children looked intently at me as I went walking by with mysterious little smiles on their upturned faces.  When I went to sleep at night I thought of the dream I had when I first acquired the talisman in which I felt I was lost in a foreign land and could not find my way back.  I did not however feel anxious about it as I had when I dreamed it.  I was living my dream and everything was as it should be.  I knew I would be able to find my way home or at least I thought I was sure of that.

     I tried to stay in the Orient for as long as I could but my contract with the shipping company that had brought me there required for me to continue on to India and Africa.  In fact I was to circumvent the globe returning to the cold Atlantic and ending my journey on the east coast of America.

From there I spent time traveling and living in parts of America I had not known before.  I had many adventures and fulfilled a dream of visiting the East coast and learning of it.  However since the only way I could make my living was as a sailor I had to find a ship that needed a hired hand.  Soon I was on my way to parts unknown.  From Norwegian fjords to tropical atolls, from cosmopolitan cities to farming communities I satisfied my curiosities about the world and the people in it.

      Everywhere I traveled I met the most beautiful and interesting women.  Sadness came at last when I thought how none of my love interests stayed in my life.  I wrote many romantic letters.  I gave significant gifts.  I had happy memories but in the end they all turned bittersweet.  The more I loved a woman, the more fleeting she became.  When I thought of all the possessions I had lost along the way in my travels curiously the talisman had always remained.

Continued on: https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2020/02/16/the-talisman-part-three-by-mark-alberto-yoder-nunez/

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