Time and Tide


Photo © David Stewart


She waited impatiently. The sun was almost at the apex. Reaching out, she ran her fingers along the surface of the old tarnished bell.

“The flowers look lovely this year,” he said.

She gasped and turned. He looked like one of the tour guides, but their clothes were costume and his were real. The wind blew and the bell chimed softly. He wound his fingers through hers.

“I’ve missed you, love,” he said.

He returned for twelve hours once a year on this, the anniversary of his death. This wasn’t how they had planned eternity together, but it was enough.

“The Cure for Anything…”

         The cries echoed along the cold, windswept beach as two gulls fought some private battle of their own. The chill was tangible, settling on her bare arms, nestling in the tumbled tendrils of her hair.
         Shoes, dress, bra–they lay huddled on the ash-colored sand behind her, edges flapping limply in the wind. The first prickles of water on her bare toes were like electric shocks, shooting up her legs, leaving a trail of chill-bumps behind. The water enveloped her calves, thighs, hips, chest, chin, filled her ears.
         She reappeared at the surface with a gasp, sending the gulls into flight.

*The title comes from the quote by Isak Dinesen: “The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.”

Into the Storm

        The wooden planks bucked under her feet as the cold spray whipped across her face. She ran her tongue over her lips to catch the salty drops that puckered her tongue with the familiar taste of the sea. Her bare toes gripped the painted deck and the sodden rigging bit into her palm as she rose and fell with the swelling waves.
        She chanced a glance back over her shoulder. The sun still shone behind her, but it was weak, watery light in the face of the gale ahead. The sky was black and it met the water at the far horizon in an almost imperceptible, glittering line.
        The waves, purple, green, blue, and black at turns, buffeted the small sailboat and she ducked reflexively as the boom crashed over, timed almost perfectly to a staccato burst of thunder. She grinned as the wind tore at her hair and clothes and steered into the storm.