The little boat drifted across the smooth waters making barely a ripple as Peter gently steered in the direction he had chosen. The view did not change, but Peter grew neither tired nor bored of his activity. The sky remained black, or perhaps very dark blue, as it had been when he awoke; the dawn held back by some mysterious force. Peter could not mark the passing hours because time seemed to have stopped, or disappeared altogether, so instead he numbered the strokes of his oar until he lost count and then he began again.Again and again Peter dipped and pulled gently to help the boat continue on, until at last there came a change on the distant horizon. A speck, a spike, a shadow against the shadowy sky. Peter rested his oar and let the boat drift slowly. Having been alone for so long he wasn’t sure how he felt about any change that might be ahead. He had become comfortable with his surroundings and was protective of his solitude. The dark object, however, grew larger and clearly it too was floating on this endless sea. It was also headed directly towards Peter.
The object grew and took shape, and whether because it made sense or because somehow he had expected it, Peter knew that it was a ship. A vessel of impressive proportions with sails unfurled catching a wind that Peter could not feel.
Then came the shout, followed by other voices, distant but clear. They called to each other, and to him. ‘Peter! Peter.’
How do they know my name, Peter wondered. For he did not know that his boat, bore his name on either side of the prow.
‘Peter!’ came the call again, ‘come and join us.’
The ship was now very close, and even in the semi-darkness, Peter could make out figures on the deck peering over the edge. There was a clatter as a ladder was lowered over the side and it was then that Peter began to feel that the time had come to leave his boat. Protection of his solitude slipped away and a sudden desire to be with other people arose and he dipped his oar to move towards the ship. This time though, nothing happened. The boat did not move, it was as though it had run aground.
Another voice called from above him, ‘The boat won’t come any nearer, you have to walk the rest of the way.’
This at once sounded absurd and perfectly natural to Peter and he stowed the oars back in the bottom of the boat before swinging his legs over the edge. Apprehensively he pushed himself up as his feet felt the water beneath them. Standing now beside his boat he looked down, marvelling at this new wonder. Then he took a step and finding himself still above the water he began walking silently across to the ship.