Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Penitent: In The Wake Of A Goodbye

Corrick bid his friend farewell at the dawn after providing directions to a common park for the sakret to hunt. He was saddened at the departure and expressed a hope that they would meet again.

“Thank you for your hospitality and your friendship, Captain,” the crusader had said as they locked wrists in a firm handshake. “I daresay I shall return indeed, for it has been an age since I have felt so at home.”

The captain smiled wanly as he wandered through his own memories of home. He left his island a mere boy, exchanging positions on ships as his experience grew. The day he drifted into Toulon and he saw his Marianne was the day he knew he found his new port-of-call. She became his northern star, his reason for crossing the tempestuous sea and for coming home again. Her gentle hand touched his cheek. “You are melancholy, Husband,” she voiced, her eyes mirrors in the firelight.

“Aye, Wife,” he replied, kissing her palm before catching her up in his arms. She squirmed against him delightfully in a feigned struggle. “I know a sure remedy.”

She never refused him, not once in the whole of their marriage. Theirs was the perfect union, spiritually, emotionally, physically. He found none pleasing but her, even more so now with grey creeping into her raven hair and lines crinkling the corners of her mouth and eyes where years of laughter had scored them. He drank her up, filling his senses and slaking his thirst for the moment. And there was the flush in her pale cheek that he would enjoy for the day remaining. Renewed, he could face the world and bend the sea to his will.

As Marianne retreated to the kitchen fire, he settled at his desk to record his voyage to his accounts ledger. He kept meticulous books out of necessity while at sea, out of habit while at home. His wife did the same in his absence so he could know precisely where the household was in the execution of the annual budget. He quilled the last of his numbers into the book just as his daughter descended the staircase, her dainty steps barely audible. Something was amiss in her pace and he looked up from his chair. She seemed to be searching for something, or rather someone. "Hell," he muttered as he realized who.

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