Day Eight was our Day at Sea on the way home, and I wondered several times what I could possibly offer as a gift. My answer came in the afternoon, when I headed back to the cabin after a late brunch. I wanted to load the photos from the previous day onto my computer, and I kind of wanted a little space and alone time. When Dan showed up shortly after I got started on my photos, it was clear we were both really tired, and when he fell asleep, instead of insisting we tour the ship or try to do something besides nap, I just fluffed up my pillow and napped for a while, too. I couldn’t sleep for long, but when I awoke, Dan was still sleeping so peacefully that I couldn’t bear to wake him. I let him nap for more than another hour, and I worked quietly uploading all the photos while he snored contentedly next to me.
In the evening, we shared our last dinner with the rest of the party in our group, and Dan and I decided to hit the final show at the ship’s theatre. We didn’t think anyone else would go, but when we got there and were seated happily and comfortably, we saw one of the people from our party all by herself. She waved to us, and even though we had good seats, we both got up and squeezed in where she was sitting so she’d have company. It seemed like such a minor thing to do until later in the evening, after the show, when she thanked us for joining her. I remember what it felt like to be the one all alone after losing a spouse, and maybe she was feeling that way sitting by herself at the show. She’s such a strong and accomplished woman that it never occurred to me that she might be lonely or wish for company. At first I didn’t want to count it as a gift because it was such a knee-jerk, automatic reaction to see someone alone and want to make them more comfortable. Later in the evening, when I was watching the female member of a very old couple struggling to figure out how to use the water machine on the top deck and finally deferring to her husband, who was no better at it than his wife but who wasn’t afraid to ask me for assistance, I realized that just the simple act of being in someone’s presence, whether or not the conversation is scintillating or just conversation – can be a gift. It was today – for both of us.