It was around 3 am and I had just left the bow deck to rest. One had to be there to comprehend how that frozen heaven was able to keep you from sleeping. It was not the restless sun that kept me from resting, but the vast beauty that was constantly dancing before my eyes, leaving me no choice but to stay longer. However, I was about to settle in my cozy bed when suddenly Jan’s voice broke the silence. He was whispering through our pre-installed speakers: Polar Bear!
Yes, the first polar bear came into the sight and we were about to play host to him with our cameras. They killed the engine to prevent any sudden noise that would have it notice our presence. We had been told to be as silent as we could when the opportunity arose. I did my best to wear my polar gear as fast as I could and go to the bow deck where all my fellow adventurers were aiming their camera toward the rarest scene a man could observe in his lifetime: a seal being hunted by a Polar bear. I avidly rushed through the salons, until I saw our mermaid in residence at the entrance, passed by her as she was observing the view with a binocular, found a place at the edge of the ship, took my Nikon 1 camera out which was equipped with a state of the art zoom lens that I had obtained specifically for this voyage, aimed my target and…shot! The ship was moving slowly toward that yellowish beast (unlike people’s common belief, Polar bears are not white, but they have a hint of yellow) so we could have a closer look at the nature’s most amazing show. The spectacle had been already begun: our white hero had hunted his meal successfully, brought it to the surface of the ice, skinned it with its sharp fangs, and started to enjoy his bloody breakfast tastefully. Some sea birds were waiting in ambush in the distance, waiting for the snow king to satisfy its hunger and go for the leftovers once he was done with it. I was witnessing the circle of life in the most amazing way. We waited until he finished his meal, dove into the water, cleaned himself with the snow, and went away. He was getting smaller and smaller in our perspective until he vanished for good. It was my first unforgettable experience at the north.
It was almost morning and our turn to digest as the wildest animal on earth. To me, a human is the most cruel animal earth has ever witnessed, being the only species that slaughters his own kind. The number of Polar bears are reducing in the world and they are only years away from complete extinction, due to the illegal hunts and global warming. I may be among the last spectators of our generation who have observed this gigantic creature at the northern part of earth. And, I’m not proud of that.
…I met BZY earlier at the bar. She was from the southern part of United States. She was beautiful, brave, content, and her body was quite an artwork filled with the eye-catching tattoos one could imagine. Her skin was her canvas. She had PHD in oceanography and was referred to as the ship’s mermaid, because she spent most of her life in the water than on land. We had all befriended this unique crew from the moment we stepped on the ship. Many lectures were given at the Aft salon on our day breaks. Most of them were not mandatory to attend, except for the ones that were dealing with our voyage.
… I saw L again on the third day. She moved toward me to see if I needed anything. I refused to grant her wish since I was busy drowning into her eyes. She left me with a smile, prompting me to follow her back. She stopped by her friend but I kept moving toward her. She turned to me, smiled and asked: “What can I do for you?” She was glowing! Me: “Can you do me a favor?” Her (replying with a sweet Russian accent): “Yes, sir.” Me: “I’ve found you very beautiful. I’m an artist. May I have the pleasure of drawing your portrait”? She was a little bit surprised by my offer. For a moment she looked hesitant and turned to her friend who was more fluent in English, and who translated my words for her. Her eyes became wider, turned back to me. Her: “Well, yes, but , no! Ummm, I don’t know.” She was blushing. Her friend poked her from behind helping her make up her mind by responding positvely to my offer. She: “Yes, the pleasure would be mine. But, can I see your works? What is your style?” Me: “Well, I have some on my iPad and you could check my website, but there is no internet here. So, I’d be delighted to show you my works on my tablet whenever you feel like it.” Her: “Ok, I’ll see them when I met you for the drawing session. Where and when can I meet you?” Me: you know our schedule. I’m free when you are free. We can meet at the library or any place you’d prefer.” Her: “I’ll call you today at 4 PM and will let you know about the place.” Me: “Ok, see you then.” My heart was beating faster going back to my table where my friends were chatting and welcoming me back to join their conversation.
It was 4 o’clock and I was staring desperately at the phone. The clock’s hands turned to the desired time and the phone rang. I picked up the phone and heard this beautiful voice saying hi. Her: “I’ll meet in your room in half an hour. Are you Ok with that?” Me: “Absolutely. Will be waiting for you.” I arranged the lighting of my room, my sketchbook, my drawing tools and positioned her chair where she could feel more comfortable. A couple of knocks and she was there. I opened the door and let her come in. I showed her seat and moved her face to my desired position. She looked a little tense. After all, she was in the room of a total stranger. I started to talk to her and showed my artworks so she could be at ease for the next two hours. As always, I started with the eyes, focusing on her eyebrows. Her eye lashes led me to her mesmerizing iris. Followed by the nose, lips, and her delicate chin. I also asked her if I could take some picture of her for my own study. She accepted warmly. Then the time was up. I signed the sketch. She was about to leave. Me: “Wait. Are you free tomorrow night?” Her: “I think so. Why?” Me: I was thinking of meeting you again. I’m going invite you to my room tomorrow night; we’ll drink a toast, chat, listen to music and observe the sun.” Her(with her unique tender smile): “Are you asking me for a date?” Me: “Yes. Would be my pleasure.” Her( hesitating a little): “I’ll meet you in your room at 11.” Me: “Fantastic, do you like wine, champagne or something else?” Her: “A bottle of champagne would be great.” Me: “Great. See you tomorrow.” She gave me a suggestive look combined with her delicate smile while closing the door. It was heart melting. Now, I had two motives.: To reach the top of the world and to find my way into her heart. The latter was the hardest. I sat by the window, closed my eyes and started to imagine her. And thought how everybody would react when they notice my absence. Then I thought that I would smile inside and would challenge them by asking: guess who’s coming to dinner? But, the night was long and bright. And when there is no border in between, there would be no border at all!
To be continued…