Morning brought bright sunlight while the wind and waves shook off the night of peril.
Two lone figures stood in the wet sand. Beside them were the remains of their trusty vessel. Before them spread a vast ocean churning with furry and anger. Electric kites of clouds flew over the white caps like a natural strobe light.
“There!” Ike cried out and pointed to a tiny dark shadow.
The couple stared at a small dingy bobbing in the rough water. Looking like a float on a fisherman’s line seemingly unaffected by the storm that had washed them ashore, this could be their salvation.
Without a thought the pair dove into the water and swam to the small craft.
Once aboard they took stock of the boat and found it sound. With some struggle, the pair lifted the anchor that had held it and began another journey.
The little wooden hull about the size of a bed turned and began to break the waves.
Ike grab the rudder and began to change the course.
“Wait!” Ginger exclaimed. “It knows the path.”
Ike paused looking puzzled, and then slowly released the rudder.
The bow jerked back and forth in the currents like a slide on an Ouija board. The two sat quietly watching the wooden platform held together with luck and spit find its way. Steadily it became calmer and straightens out its course.
For hours, perhaps days, the little cradle wandered through the blue water following an invisible trail, its crew numbed by the sun and constant rolling of the waves slept.
The sun burnt couple opened their eyes to a shady umbrella of green. The scrapping sound of wood against wood was their alarm clock.
An old dilapidated dock jutted out from an overgrown island.
Ike wrapped the anchor line around a pillar and helped Ginger onto the decaying wood planks.
“Careful. Don’t want to come this far to….” he advised.
“So what is this place?” she asked walking gingerly across the crumbling wood until they both reached firm ground.
“I don’t know but it feels familiar.”
Ike looked down the bamboo lined narrow beach but there were no signs of an entry point.
“Come on,” Ginger firmly demanded, “I know the way.”
She divided the thick stacks of green and stepped into the darkness, Ike quickly on her heels. Pressing into the unknown the explorers weaved through the vines and stalks that tore their cloths and scrapped their skin.
A spot of sunshine found a clearing for the couple to stop and catch their breath.
Ike, leaning over his hands on his knees, puffed and moaned, “I’m hungry.”
Ginger crossed legged sat in a pile of leaves, wiping her brow onto her red arms and replied, “Yeah, Big captain. You didn’t think about bringing any food, did you?”
Feeling dejected by their new situation, Ike stood straight and scanned the area. Examining the pine carpet as if documenting a crime scene he circled the jungle cavern, when he suddenly froze and stared at the ground. His eyes were fixated, not a word was said.
“Did you find a Big Mac?” Ginger broke the silence stretching her gams walking slowly to the spot.
They both recognized their future and began to follow a narrow crushed shell path.
Coming to an opening they found the familiar brownstone building still draped in constant capture of the jungle.
As they entered the cavernous sculpture Ike smiled at the dust spot on the dirty marble floor. Ginger slapped his arm, then turned seeking out a destination they were not aware of.
She stopped at a massive wooden door. Ike reached for the iron latch ring that hung down on an art deco plate. He tugged on the ring with no success. Always up for a challenge, he explored blocked passage.
Ginger, being Ginger, stood back and watched with fascination. She broke her enjoyment and spied a bronze statue sitting on a pedestal next to the door. Rubbing her hands over the dusty Buddha squatted in a lotus position; she felt an indentation on the forehead. Something was missing from this guardian.
Then she knew.
Ike stopped his investigation and turned to Ginger as she reached into her tattered gray sweater. The silence was deafening.
Ginger extracted the red diamond she had been so protective for all this time and held it to the sunbeams streaming through holes in the roof. The stone glowed in the warmth and seemed to vibrate as if to be coming home.
With the hands of an angle, Ginger slowly pressed the diamond into the impression, twisting to the left and then right until…..
The red diamond found its place in the Buddha and seated itself. Ginger pulled back her hand and the pair stared at the statue.
Ike turned back to the door and pulled on the latch.
A bright glow grew under the door onto the shiny floor then spread up the edges increasing in intensity as the wooden portal opened.
Awash in light, the stunned travelers stood affixed at the wonder that behold them.
A figure approached the doorway with a welcoming smile. He stepped forward, dressed to the nines, curly hair, horn-rimmed glasses, and somehow very comfortable and familiar. Behind him was a yellow glow space filled with men and women, all seemingly very happy, in gowns and dresses swirling dances to soft live orchestra music. There was no other sound.
Ike’s eyes caught in the corner a young man with a wavy hair, sharp black tux, blue pocket napkin and an unforgettable smile; two ladies on his arm, one in a satin red gown, the other leaning her head against his shoulder looking very content. The trio faced Ike with an ageless recognition.
“Blackie?” Ike stuttered.
A time passed as the pair took in the wonders before them, then the silence was broken.
The figure who had approached them spoke.
“ My name is Maynard. Come join us.”