Sunday, November 21, 2010

On the Ionian

He dropped to his knees and kissed the ground. Would she still be there? He had no reason to believe she had waited for him, but something in his gut told him he deserved a second chance.
The fog had lifted around half past two in the morning, and the man who rented out the boats had stayed as he had said he might. Business was bad these days, and the frail old codger depended on the three or four visitors who came his way each month.
Edward watched as the man put the money in the little drawstring sack he wore around his neck. As they climbed into the boat he thought, “What a life! This geezer must survive on barely more than bread and water, and still he remains.” No doubt, he too felt the lure of the islands.
Two dogs picked through scraps in a small pile of rubbish on the beach. Obviously, they managed their meager existence through watching out for one another. The larger of them deposited a bone or something in front of the other and returned to the pile in search of his own meal. There were no gulls scavenging at that time of the morning.
“What must the old man think,” Edward wondered, “Seeing me drop to my knees like that?” He had entirely forgotten himself for just a minute or two and lost his composure in his happiness at being once again on Corfu.
As they rowed out to the smaller island, he considered the gifts contained in the bag stowed in the prow. Would he don the mask in an attempt to take her back in time, or would the gesture appear too frivolous? If he overcame his doubt, there would be time enough as he ascended the stone steps, but if he recalled the sound of her breathing, in those moments, he would not be able to stop himself from whispering her name, thereby rendering the playful mask a redundancy.

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