The Familiar Stranger's Insight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story is about a person trying to escape from their life and responsibilities. On this trip, they have an unusual experience that leads to a multi-dimensional and enlightening journey.

Submitted: November 17, 2018

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Submitted: November 17, 2018

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I must be the worse sea captain in the world. I thought that this would be an easy journey. I mean, it isn’t my first time making this trip. It is is only my second time taking my yacht out but last time I did it, I went to the same place. Perhaps, I shouldn’t have been so stubborn and listened to my Partner. They said that it wasn’t going to be safe out but I needed to get away.

I needed to get away from them, the kids,and everything else related to my life. Sometimes, I can truly understand why my dad didn’t stick around. That is horrible to say, I know. I am just so damn stressed all the time. On top of that, I have a business and fortune to maintain and manage. I worked hard to put myself and my family where we are now. I only wish that they would appreciate me more. I am not appreciated for anything that I do.

Their lives were built by my hands and I can hardly get a thank you half the time. So I decided to take a break and get away for the weekend. Last time I did this, it was like therapy, and I was only gone for an afternoon. This time it will be my very own private retreat. I am going to an island only 25 kilometers away from my very own summer home. It is not a very well known or explored island. Therefore, it remains undisturbed by man. There are very few places I have ever been that are as quiet and peaceful.

The place is almost surreal and utopian in nature. On my previous visit, to this majestic oasis, I did simple and relaxing activities. Fishing and silent sunbathing took up most of my afternoon that day. This time around, I would like to adventure in a way that I haven’t in years. I am older now, but not that old. I still have my wits and my health about me. I intend on rock climbing, creating a campfire, and exploring the beach during my two-day vacation on this mysterious island. A vacation I can only hope to happen if I make it through this inclement weather.

Upon sailing, things were fine and the skies were clear. After about twenty minutes of sailing, mist began to rise. This was strange to be happening at this time of the day, but I didn’t have much time to question it. The mist rose quickly and immediately threw me off course a bit. You can see the island I am sailing to from my summer home. On my original day trip to this island, I arrived in a couple of hours. I feel as though I have been sailing for nearly half a day now.

I wouldn’t know if that were truly the case or not though, due to all of my electronics malfunctioning. This has happened completely unprecedented and I cannot seem to do anything to get them to work. My yacht is very new and so are the appliances, so I am in complete shock to run into these issues so soon. Suddenly, I begin to realize what may be causing some of these issues with my boat when I am nearly flung off of it. A humongous gust of wind and a deadly wave crashes against the side of my boat. After I get up, I am completely dazed from the calamity. I cannot tell if I am in the air or on water anymore from the way the wind and water swirls around my entire ship.

I began to gather my senses and head for the door to the ship’s interior. I come close to the door before another huge wave hits the side of my ship. This one doesn’t send me as far but deals much more significant damage. I am sent face forward down to deck of the ship. The impact immediately crushes the tip of my nose and knocks me into an inescapable stupor . As I lay there trying to remember to breathe, I slowly began to slip off the boat and into the water. I drifted deeper and deeper down into the endless depths, until something saved me.

I began to vibrate and I didn’t feel as though I was sinking anymore. I no longer felt the pressure of the water on my chest. I was simply suspended in space. I could breathe again and every bit of pain had fled my body. I opened my eyes and was immediately blinded by an excessively ebullient sun. I was laying on a vaguely familiar beach. My yacht was docked next to me, I guess I did make it after all. Upon trying to get up, the condition of my body was abruptly brought to my awareness. Everything was in tremendous pain, especially my head and my nose.

I managed to work my way up to my feet. I knew I was too weak to try to get up to my boat at that moment for its medical supplies. So, I decided to stuff my nose and try to walk some of the pain off. I figured my best chances were to find someone who could help me, located close. I assumed this was the island I was headed towards but could not tell for sure. I began limping my way up through a cluttered path with little hope in my heart for finding help. After nearly an hour of searching, I decided to turn around before I forgot my way back. As I turned around and began to walk, I smacked my face directly into someone else’s.

I clamored about trying to regain my vision as my nose relentlessly gushed blood. The person I ran into began to do the same. As my vision cleared, I realized that I had ran into a mirror. “What is a random mirror doing, on a deserted island anyway!?” I unintentionally asked myself aloud. The mirror image replied “I’m not a mirror and watch where you are going!”. We both stopped as our hearts dropped to the pit of our stomachs simultaneously. My breathing came to a halt as I looked into the face of the mysterious doppelganger.

The person standing in front of me, was me. Only they were older and their nose wasn’t utterly destroyed. Though their left eye was black and completely swollen shut. We stood there in amazement of one another for a moment. Then, we both slowly began to touch one another’s face to make sure we were real. Shortly after confirming this bizarre encounter, we sat on the ground about five feet apart. We simply stared and tried to accept the moment as reality for a few minutes. My mind was teeming with questions, that I was certain this older replica of me could not answer.

I was stuck dumbfounded, as they attempted to muster up their first question. “Ar-are you lost too?” the familiar stranger asked. “Yes, I was hoping to find someone who could help me with my injuries”, I replied. “Same, my boat is close by but I didn’t trust myself to be able to properly patch everything up”, they said. I took a reluctant deep breathe in and said, “I can probably help you.” “I can’t patch myself up, but your injuries look like something I have dealt with from kids before.” They looked at me, took a moment to consider my offer, and apprehensively nodded.

We began to walk to their boat on the other end of the beach. Their boat was a yacht, much like mine, only slightly smaller. We began to make our way up and they took out their emergency medical equipment.  I quickly put a patch over my nose and wrapped my ankle before attending to the familiar stranger’s injuries. As I treated their wounds, we sparked an interesting conversation. Looking back, I think all of my questions were answered during this talk.

“So how old are your children?” the familiar stranger asked. “ I have a seventeen year old girl and a twelve year old boy” I replied. “How do you deal with the responsibility?” they asked. I took a moment to ponder on this question. “I don’t deal with it very well sometimes and I rely on the strength of my significant other often” I said, still somewhat lost in thought. “Wow, you sure have accomplished a lot”, the familiar stranger said.

This acknowledgement sent a surge of joy and fulfillment through my body. “How would you know that?” I asked with a slight grin. “I haven’t even told you what I do for a career.” The familiar stranger laughed and proclaimed “ I don’t need to know that, to know that you are extremely successful in life!”. “You have a family that loves you and a partner that supports you, things I have never been able to obtain in my lifetime.” “Maybe if I spent more energy cultivating love instead of profit, that maybe my life would be worth more now, like yours.” “Perhaps, you worked harder for the things that you have obtained because you have people to share them with.”

I was completely frozen as the familiar stranger’s words circulated through my mind. Suddenly they got up and said “Well I think it is time I head back now and you shouldn’t keep your family waiting any longer.” In that instanstance, I was back where I had originally ran into the familiar stranger. I was sitting on the ground in a small opening, on the path I had taken earlier to find help. My ankle and my nose were still wrapped so whatever happened, was real. The same mist that started this misadventure began to rapidly accumulate again around me and the trees.

This startled me so I gathered my mind and focused on one thing, getting back to the boat. I ran through the misty tropical forest, dodging branches and carefully watching my footing. I could not afford another accident but desperately wanted to beat the mist. I felt this was the only way to conclude this seemingly endless delusion. I made it back to the beach and the mist was cleared but it was late now. I could see my boat shimmering in the moonlight, off in the distance. Just before I started to walk towards it I heard someone scream “Oh my God, Honey!” behind me.

Approaching me at full speed was my family, eyes full of tears. They were frantic and full of questions regarding my well-being and where I had been. Apparently I had been gone for nearly a week, but somehow I was home now. I couldn’t give them an appropriate answer on where I had been. I didn’t know what happened, I was just happy to be home. I never took my yacht out on another solo excursion again. I also never truly learned the true identity of who the familiar stranger was, until I had gotten older. Now I see that familiar stranger everyday in the mirror. Except, unlike the stranger I met there, I know exactly who I am now.

 


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