I stepped off the docks with a hardening in my chest. My ribs felt knotted into one solid bone, my heart unable to pump, my lungs unable to expand as I paced in front of Laura and Lucy.
We had been out sailing for the day with a friend. I hadn’t wanted to go at first, preferring to stay within the safety of Papageno so I could work on her renovations, preparations and about six other jobs I had to complete. But I found myself running down the dock to catch our friend’s boat, Capricorn for a day of snorkelling, paddle boarding, food, wine and sailing.
I had felt guilty at first. I knew I should be working. But everyone was so happy and I had been refusing invitations to go out and socialise every time they had asked us, Laura going alone.
Today had to be different.
I had returned with high spirits, feeling the ocean in my blood more than ever. I was excited about our future plans for Papageno, what we were going to do with her and feeling a peace settle within myself that I was doing ok alone.
But as soon as my phone connected to the internet and I found that our Kickstarter campaign had been taken down, my strength, my hope and my heart crumbled.
We had worked so hard to raise £7000 towards the renovation of Papageno, each pledge rewarded by an item of equal value of the shop. Everything had gone.
Someone had reported our campaign and it had been taken down. We had not clearly stated that we were a creative project and would be documenting the restoration. So, Kickstarter suspended the account refunded the money and told us that there was no undoing it.
I paced beneath the dim lights of the marina, wishing that each one would explode over my head. My anger had turned into a solid entity within myself and it needed a way out. I wanted the grass to burn alongside me as I paced, glass to crack and break and for pavement to shudder beneath my feet.
But all what happened was a clenching of my fists and an apology to Lucy and Laura as I found the nearest marina restaurant with wifi. Quickly hooking up, I read the email and sat still.
Was this the end?
Everything had ended before when Edouard had left. I had been prepared to sell Papageno and I had been prepared to save her. Now we had gotten to that place of relief, it had been taken away from me. Was I to give up or to try again?
My eyes flickered over the messages of support, my fingers tapping away frantically to respond. I didn’t have the energy to start something anew but I did anyway. How could I possibly hope to raise £7000 again?
We had been planning to complete her rig and masts, redo the wiring, have a professional look at the engine, have her safety rail replaced and have the inside fitted out for the comfort of a crew of six. We had been planning on keeping her safely at the marina. We had been planning on taking everything seriously, making sure she was kitted out with electrical navigational equipment to make sure anyone on board had everything they needed. We were planning on letting her out to the public once I was in England, sharing her with everyone who connected with her story, who wanted to contribute to her restoration- plumbers, electricians, mechanics, people who could decorate, reupholster- it was supposed to be a project that belonged to all of us.
But suddenly I was just a girl staring at a computer screen wondering whether people would give Papageno another chance.
Whether I would give her another chance.
My fingers fluttered over the keyboard once again, creating the campaign and sharing as much as I could.
“Let’s make this happen,” I said, inwardly cursing Kickstarter at the same time.
My ticket was already booked for England for the 15th. I was to arrive in Paris and then drive to England (Leela is not allowed to fly in). The rigging was booked in to take place on the 12th. We were getting kicked out on the 1st of November and I would have to haul my arse back to the marina office to beg if they could keep us longer. The coolant pipe still wasn’t repaired, we hadn’t found the right oil for the transmission and we simply didn’t want to move. We wanted to remain where we were.
Something needed to be still in this myriad of changing circumstances and ever present trials.
I decided I would try again. I would try and try and try until everything had turned to dust and there was nothing left to build. I would barter, bargain, convince and plead until we could stay safely stay where we were so the restoration could be completed here. So people could come and visit and stay on Papageno here.
It felt so tempting to just give everything up. To wash my hands free of all of this. To return to England with my head bowed and ashamed.
I had failed. Again.
I was the image of me returning in that way that made the anger flare up once more.
I could not go home that way. Not when I knew I still had the potential to bring Papageno back from the dead. I would work my fingers to the bone with my shop to raise the funds for her. She deserved it. After all of this. After everything we had been through together, Papageno was the only thing constant.
I would go home with my head high, because we would succeed. Because she’s captured my heart, and I believe she has for others too. The proof that anything is possible. That the broken can be fixed. Hearts and boats aren’t so different, after all.
So, let’s do this.
One more time.
Let’s Save Papageno.
Check out the “Save Papageno” campaign here