On April thirteenth I picked Raven up out of the sea. On June thirteenth, she left me. Two months to the day, and in all that time we were never separated more than the few hours. Such a strange beginning; such a swift, cruel end. So much to remember, yet so few really intimate conversations.
I remembered the day we finally entered the Mediterranean. The levante had brought warm, clear skies and more wind than the damaged sails could use. It was the kind of day that made me hunger to have the Wahini functioning properly again. We slipped smoothly through a rippled sea, making three knots under conditions that should have given us twice that speed.
Raven and I were nestled together, naked. We had found a favorite position. I sat with my back braced against the weather davit. Raven sat in front of me, leaning back against me, with her foot on the wheel lazily keeping Wahini on course. My hands were locked beneath her breasts, with fingers free to make occasional teasing excursions upward to her nipples. We could keep that position for hours if I was in post-coital lethargy, but no matter how worn out I was, the gentle swaying of the boat would eventually take my mind off seamanship and we would make love.
Today, we hadn’t reached that stage. We were simply talking. I had told Raven about my father and how he had abandoned my sister and me after my mother died. It is not something I talk about easily, and I had eventually grown tired of the bitterness in my own voice and had shut up. There followed a long silence, until Raven said, “You would like my father.”
“You’re a lot like him. He is a powerful man. I don’t mean physically, and I don’t mean his political clout. He is a man who knows his mind and doesn’t swerve once he has decided on a course of action. He has enormous self-confidence. Like you.”
I didn’t know what to say. I do have a lot of self-confidence, but it isn’t polite to say so. I just said, “It must be nice to have a father like that.”
“Oh, it’s okay for my mother. She loves him, worships him, almost; and my sister gets along fine with him. They are both the shy, retiring types.”
“And you aren’t?”
It was a joke, of course. I said it lightly, but she replied, “Damned straight!” Then she got up so fast that she almost tore herself out of my arms, and walked stiffly away, a firm, fine, living, cafe-au-lait statue of Venus. She disappeared below, and I didn’t see her again for two hours. When she came back up, she had dressed in Will’s jeans and shirt, and she didn’t mention her father again.
An omen perhaps. Certainly a warning, but it had not made sense to me at the time. It still didn’t, not where my thinking mind lives, but in the undermind where all is groping after glimpses of pattern against a background of chaos, it fit. It rang true. Her words on that fine Mediterranean day and her leaving me without warning or explanation were like two pieces of an enormous jigsaw puzzle. They fitted together, but while the rest of the puzzle lay scattered, they meant little. more tomorrow