“Inner Voice” is a hinky thing. People talk about it, I listen for it and sometimes take its counsel.
But then the doubt. Is it a message from Self or is Harvey my Inner ventriloquist ego schmuck at it again?! I’m never sure.
But this time was different.
It was the last day of a nineteen-day voyage from Bombay to Japan.
Passengers were on deck huddled close against a chill autumn wind watching a pale grey horizontal line called Honshu slowly ink in.
A guy standing next to me asked, “How long will you be in Japan”?
I had traveled hard for a full year overland from New York, the last dozen weeks in Nepal and India.
I was skinny, road-worn, and now wise enough to know that sculpted travel plans invite “otherly” interference.
Two months in Japan was my self-imposed limit.
It was now mid-October and I would be back home in New York for Christmas!
It was to dissuade heavenly shenanigans and dispel my own doubts that I delivered my answer with some conviction.
The moment those words left my mouth a voice in the wind whispered, “two years”.
I gave my head a quick shake to clear my ears then repeated, this time louder, “two months.”
The guy who had asked the question moved back a step and said, “Yeah, I heard you.”
And the voice again said, “Two years”.
I remained in Japan that first time, from October 17, 1969, to November 3, 1971.
Two years and seventeen days