Sea Seekers

by Christine Law

Lost to the dark murky waters there was no stopping him it was in the blood, like father
and grandfather before him. Marrying a fisherman was never easy. There was always that doubt that Saul would not come back safe. The sea was his master. For a time, I, Martha Inglis, had accepted this.

We had our own cottage at Winstable nice neighbours many a woman who married a fisherman knew the tale. Fish came in shoals to be bought and sold on at the docks. We lived off the profit. Saul although owning four trawlers and having men to steer the boats and haul the fish it wasn’t enough he had to work the boats himself.
I would see that faraway look in his blue eyes thinking of the sea knowing that I had lost him to someone else. If only those murky waters could tell a tale Why, oh why did you have to take him? Just as life was settling down. He had the son he wonted Ben and a daughter Roslyn we had seven happy positive years together. Being a city lass friends thought I would never settle.

We meet by chance I was walking along the shore the waves lapped my feet. Watching as the boats went out to sea it all looked so peaceful like a picture postcard. Later that day seeing the lanterns as the men came ashore you noticed me. Smiled, we went for a drink at a local inn The Jessabelle. My friend Wendy could not understand the instant attraction between us and was glad to leave Winstable. With your ruddy complexion, piercing blue eyes and six foot of muscle you become my life.

People who don’t understand say, we had those years together and two beautiful children I am young enough to put my loss behind me four years on do I see that? Seeing the tide so calm it’s hard to believe, how they could have drawn you under. How stormy the seas, you always came back. They say the boat hit the rock the stern was ripped apart like fragments of a jigsaw that could not be put back together. Well that was the end of us memories appear in the twilight and your side of the bed is empty do I wont another to take your place? Time alone will tell. The children sing and chatter keeping life on an even keel. The cottage radiates sun the lawns are green flowers bloom the holy hocks are ripe for picking. Another season without you I feel lost remorse for what could have

What more can one say, or do just carry on say hello to everyone in the village. Take the kids into Southend for the day. So many local resorts on the coast to visit. I’m not ready to move on just yet one day maybe. Ben has started to show an interest in the boats I can’t go through it all again loss and respect for the sea. When the time is ready will I sell the boats? What is there to keep me here?

Looking at desolate waters that won’t give an answer to my questions. There wasn’t much of you when they brought you ashore you were all twisted a look of shock when you gave your last breath. You were not buried at sea. You rest peaceful in the local church where granite marks your resting place.

A living can be made from the boats although they cost enough to repair Why am I hanging onto them? Is because of you or will I let go of it all one day. Tourists come and go thinking how beautiful everything is with seagull’s song, sea shanty tales and the likes of a peaceful fishing village. The smell of salt cockles and muscles sold in the Jessabelle singing merriment. They can always catch a boat home many come for the day to study fisheries and another way of life. Seeing fish wriggle in the nets. Thinking of fresh fish, lobster or crab. Could they live the life? When everything clouds over and the sun hides. You may think of me as bitter Martha thinking of herself people come and go
move on with life accept what has to be. So why not I?

Love is a strange thing; it leads you around in circles and twines your heart. You know when its time to let go. That day you got lost at sea there was a sense of foreboding you know I could not shake of that feeling like when your driving and you sense another vehicle coming on the opposite side of the road. It’s as if I expected something to happen that day getting Ben and Roslyn reading
for school and later after evening meal bed. You were usually home by eleven, midnight at the latest. When old Ben Holmes in his sixties a seafarer called to break the news, I could not take it in. It was a dream my worst nightmare comes to life. Megan and O’Donnell her partner had looked after Ben and Roslyn a babe in arms at the time. Everyone was so good and kind compassionate. Jed still manages the boats now your gone he always wanted to be a trawler skipper he is single but there is no attraction there.

Your mother Ruth accepts losing your Da and now you although you were only thirty-six you had lived the life of a seasoned sailor since you could walk, so they say. Pondering deep in thought could I deny dear sweet Ruth the company of her grandchildren or them her. Would they settle away from the sea and life here? Time and fate will tell that story. Who knows? The wind blows a cool breeze the shutters of the cottage rattle is that you telling me to be careful? Wait until the sun shines to bring new life. Maybe then I will follow the path of the sun accepting what life and fate has in store for me and why. There has to be a reason for this tale for the grand kids to read to their children.

For now, pen and paper must rest in the drawer.∎