The Journey of a Thousand Miles
Magda and Dumas are safely home in Barrow now. They traveled back with heavy hearts: the urn in which their father’s ancient ashes reposed overturned in the back of Dumas’ car when they hit a pothole in Gonzales, an ignominious scattering for the dignified and stern old Russian. Shaken, his children swept what they could out onto the beach without further ceremony. Their trip back to Alaska was spent mostly in silence, pondering the foolishness of their efforts, and wondering why they had once more made this epic journey, for so little reward to anyone?
But their depression was not destined to last, for on their return, they were overjoyed to find their brother Edwin safe at home; he had survived his sojourn in the belly of the whale, and in due course he emerged from it in the natural way, completely unscathed – only wanting a long shower, and expressing a marked disinclination for sushi.
Dumas is now a changed man: abandoning his dream of bringing a Super Wal-Mart to his hometown, he is now cultivating grapes in a fledgling vineyard where the retail giant was once to set its mighty foot, and looks forward to sampling the as-yet-unnamed fruit of his Bacchanalian efforts.
Magda, meanwhile, is meditating on the myriad blessings of her own personal advantages; loving and supportive family members; kind, loyal friends; a fun, steady job where her useful work is appreciated and rewarded; and the excellent health to continue enjoying all this wonderful bounty for a long time to come. What a lucky creature, what a child of good fortune she is. What could she possibly have to complain about?
Okay, so the sunburn hurts really really bad. But hurts will get better.