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Ajax Stephens has eyes the color of the Caribbean Sea in the brightest daylight, but from far away they are the purest shade of gray. Only when you stand on tiptoe next to his six foot six frame and stare straight into his eyes can you identify that beautiful tone of blue.
“Your eyes are gray from far away.” I tell Ajax.
He laughs a little and rakes his large fingers all the way through his dirty blond hair.
Ajax doesn’t talk too much, but I find that when he does, he sings. Or rather, he whispers a wonderfully crafted and thoughtful poem, even if his response pops into his head the millisecond before he says anything.
I watch him take a sip of his third beer of the evening and look hazily out onto the Atlantic Ocean. His hair falls in shaggy waves down to his shoulders and his chest bobs up and down with every breath he takes like a bobber in a lake waiting for a fish to drag it down. I’m captivated. I’ve been captivated since I was thirteen and Ajax Stephens was nineteen. I’ll be captivated until the day I die.
“Where did you come from, Ajax Stephens?” I ask him, in all seriousness.
Ajax puts the beer down and runs his hand up and down the side of his face where a beard is faintly starting to grow. He’s thinking.
“The moon, maybe. Or the stars. Or maybe I was born on a ship, and I found my way to the coasts of Maine.”
“That’s why you love the water. You’re somebody else out here on the water.”
Ajax cocks his head and takes a whiff of the salty ocean air.
“Montgomery, I’m someone else everyday, and I’m very glad about that. I’m afraid I’d get bored if I were the same person each day.”
“I don’t get bored.” I tell him.
Ajax closes his eyes and leans back on the cushioned captain’s seat in the front of the boat.
“I don’t get bored.” I say again.
Ajax opens an eyelid and stares at me with one eye that looks gray from where I’m sitting on the boat.
“No, you don’t get bored.” He says. It’s not a question; it’s a statement.
“If you’re a different person each day, don’t you ever get confused?” I ask, really hoping to stump this man for once in his lifetime.
Ajax smiles through his lips and sits up.
“Who are you today?” I question.
Ajax is silent for a minute while he thinks. I’m patient. With Ajax, you have to be patient, “Today, I am Ajax the sailor. He likes the drink beers and be on the ocean of the shores of Maine with a pretty little girl named Montgomery Hall.”
”Who were you yesterday?”
“Yesterday. Yesterday was such a long time ago. I’m sleepy, Montgomery. Let’s rest.”
“We can’t be here, so far out from the shore. If you want to rest, we need to go back in.” I say, pushing my hair out of my own dull brown eyes.
“We can stay here.” Ajax mumbles through closed eyes and drowsy lips.
And even though Ajax never backs up what he says or decides, I trust him.
I fall asleep on a towel.