A Chance Encounter
An Island, a storm; a new beginning
A few years ago, the Earth split in two.
The Church told us God was angry; and the adults warned us about being bad children. I was 16 then; I remember the ground shaking so violently some trees tipped over and some of our good kitchenware broke. Mom was so sad; it had been a wedding gift from her mom, passed down from her own mother, my great grandmother. The shaking lasted so long it felt like an eternity. We were outside, me and mom, hanging up the clean laundry when it happened. I latched onto a tree so hard my fingers were raw and bloody by the end of it. The ground shook and shook and ended ripping the Eastern part of our little community in half, which is where my home ended up. We have to rely on boats now if we want to go to the mainland. We got stuck with barely anything on this side apart from the church, a few pubs, the docks and whoever lived outside town. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I actually love it here; I rarely take a boat out onto the mainland as its far too busy for my taste. I like the calm, the usual faces, the routine. I can't speak for everyone but I think life is better now; more peaceful.
Now that I'm an adult, my mother expects me to marry but I don't want to. It is a daily struggle avoiding her talks of the local bachelors. I don't want any of them; I'm fine on my own. I love the quiet days and I don't plan on changing it anytime soon for a husband; I help my mom with the business - if you can call mending people's clothes for a cheap price "a business". I bring back the finished pieces to their owners, I pick up fresh vegetables from Mrs. Owen and I help my mother cook dinner. That's all I need in life; nothing more; no adventure, no tear-jerking romance.
Every Saturday afternoon, which is my free time, I like to sit on the edge of the cliff on the Northern side of the island and simply listen to the waves crashing against one another and against the rocks far below. That's where I am right now. My face is cool with the oncoming Autumn weather, and I think of the warm doublet sitting on my bed that I should have worn. No matter; I am still enjoying myself. Most of the time I just stare out at the wide expanse of nothingness but sometimes, when I'm lucky, I spot a few whales far out, coming up for air. They might be small from my high vantage point but beautiful nonetheless. Today the sky hangs low and the clouds are filled with shades of dark gray - almost black. No whales in sight. I know I should be heading home before the storm hits but my favourite time to be outside is when the sky is ominous and dangerous looking. You can feel the spirits riding the wind currents and can hear ghostly cries from drowned fishermen. The winds pick up, and so does my adrenaline but this is when I feel most at peace. I can't explain it, nor do I bother to. People my age always look at me weird, and adults say I'm queer but I don't mind it. I like not having to talk to anyone, make small talk or put on a fake smile for the elders. I can easily keep to myself while not disappointing anyone.
I feel a few drops on my hands and face and decide it really is time for me to head home. As I get up and brush off any dirt from my dress something catches my eye; a boat. At least I think its a boat; its just a little dot on the horizon. The longer I look the more I am convinced it is indeed a boat braving the violent waves the storm is bringing with it.
As the minutes go by and the boat comes closer and closer, I wonder who would be stupid enough to go out to sea; the weather has been brewing up a storm for the last couple of days and the local fishermen know not to go out. The docks are also closed to anyone who wishes to go to the Mainland. As the minutes drag on by, the boat slowly makes its way closer and closer. The waves are roughing it up and it is struggling to make its way across. I do not know how long I stay standing on the cliff's edge but I can't take my eyes off the vessel fighting its way to the island; to safety.
Suddenly, lightning shoots across the sky and thunder cracks across the sky, so loud it feels as though it is right above me; targeting me. I jerk awake from my day dreaming and realize I should probably warn someone. I run up to the lighthouse which is not very far off and bang on the door. No answer. Not surprising, Larry likes to get crazy drunk whenever there's a storm. No reason to work; more reason to drink.
The rain is coming down in sheets now. The sound of the thunder fights against the loud pelting of the rain, trying to make itself the loudest. I know I should go home, but what if the person needs help once they make it to shore... if they make it.
I run down to the docks but there is no one in sight. I look out into the forever dimming horizon; I can see the boat much clearer now. If it's lucky, if no big wave decides to tip it over, It should be fine. While I wait for it to make its way to the docks, I decide to get myself ready to help them. I tie a large rope around my waist, lest I tumble into the unforgiving water, and I prepare an extra rope for whomever is onboard the boat.
slowly but surely,
By the time it finally reaches me I am so drenched and cold I can barely feel my toes. My fingers are big ice blocks, and I am shivering so bad I feel like I will snap in two. Despite all this, I manage to board the vessel. It's no bigger than a fisherman's' boat; the mast is broken and if there was anything of value on the deck it is long gone, devoured by the sea. I quickly make my way across to to ships' wheel. Someone is laying face down right next to it, breathing heavily. I bend down gingerly and shake them - no response. As I turn then over I realize its a girl, no older then I am. I tell her we need to get off the boat quickly and get her under blankets near a warm fire, she's freezing and I'm worried about the whiteness of her complexion. Her eyelids flutter a second before she opens them. My breath catches as I see the colour of her eyes. They come from the sea; bright blue, the brightest, clearest blue I've ever seen.
As we are walking back up the path to my house, I wonder what this end of year has in store for me; a stranger, a wrecked boat and a lot of mystery are sure to keep me busy.
I know... I said I did not want adventure and I still don't but I'm all up for mysterious strangers with beautiful eyes.