Even though most of them have lived here most of their lives, they look out on Main Street today the same way that sailors look out over the rooftops and byways of some foreign port; as if everything within their view is simultaneously familiar yet ultimately unknowable. Any one of them, marooned here in the morning without his companions, would sip his solitary coffee to arm himself against the impending and inevitable chill, as if the brew were some exotic and medicinal elixir, newly arrived by caravan, casting its healing spell over old bones and fading memory, transporting him back and back through the years and ages, depositing him safely and warmly in Terra Cognita.
This morning, though, none of that is necessary. The coffee can remain only coffee, the town will retain its familiarity through the group’s shared recollection of Ithaca as Ithaca. The city may continue on its voyage, but the sailors are home from their sea. One or two might sail away again, soon and forever, but it’s clear that the vessel of their friendship will not falter, no matter how rocky the horizon.