The two boys were now inseparable. Their days were filled with ping-pong, soccer, Duck on a Rock, unlimited refill hot chocolates and running. They also spent a good deal of time in companionable silence, each reading a book, or paging through magazines that had been abandoned, wrinkled and dog-eared, their crosswords half completed by a previous owner, in quiet corners of the ship.
Occasionally Dashiell would look over at Fergus to find he had fallen asleep, his head propped on the wing of the wingback chair, his nose snoring gently. He was used to sleeping every 3 hours or so you see, from his days as a lone sailor, when he alone was responsible for the steering and safe passage of his little ship. Dashiell had come to expect these sudden nod-offs and in fact tried to time their major activities in such a way that Fergus could sleep afterward in a convenient location. Dashiell had learned the wisdom of scheduling their days early on when Fergus fell asleep in the dining room before dessert arrived. The dessert was Baked Alaska, and Fergus missed all the fun of seeing the ice cream and cake dessert with its meringue topping flambe.
The next day, when Dashiell described this remarkable contradiction in food that was at once hot and cold, Fergus was not very surprised. He said that while indeed he wished he had not slept through the show, it did sound a lot like special ice cream desserts that had been served at his home, sometimes called bombes, that were shaped into rounds and served in slices, with multi-colored layers inside.
“OK,” said Dashiell, “but did they come to the table on fire?” Fergus had to concede that point, but he did go on to describe in some detail the elaborate molds that were made for these desserts, often for one-time use, depicting birds in flight, swans swimming on ponds, and ice cream cones shaped into a pineapple.
Life aboard the Friendship became their small, yet whole and complete world. They watched the ship navigate tight channels, observed the direction of the wind. They didn’t care to go ashore because they didn’t have any interest in 17th-century architecture or the long stories about life in the olden days of catching fish and drying fish and pickling fish and knitting fishing nets. They were here now, in their own unique time capsule, separated perhaps in their past lives by 100 years, but on this ship those years were blurred, and each had a foot in 1905 and 2017, in a brackish place between centuries.
And there was ice cream in both!