Andromeda’s tears

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My yacht, Cetus, gently rises and falls with the sea swell. It is a motion I find comforting, a feeling further enhanced by the occasional sound of muted splashes as the sea laps against the hull.

The sun is low, an orange globe, slowly sinking towards the far horizon; the one we crossed earlier in the day, when the sun was at its zenith.

It was hot then. Oppressively hot.

The raw heat sucked the moisture from our skin, from our mouths, from our lungs, like a vampire drains the blood from its victims. Leaving nothing but shrivelled carcasses of dried parchment in its wake.

Now, I sit on the quarter deck. A flame from the spout of a small Aladdin style genie lamp flickers in the faint breeze; its feeble light still reflects and refracts from the etched glasses and the silver of the pot, from which Cassiopeia is serving sweet Moroccan mint tea.

Casablanca is lost to us, far behind in the darkness, beyond that far horizon. Ahead, barely visible in the dwindling light, is another. One we shall sail over in the morrow, as we make headway for the island of Seriphos.

Upon whose shores Andromeda awaits for our arrival.

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Phineas, has let his mouth become quarrelsome with his head once more. The promise of marriage fades, tears run down Andromeda’s cheeks.

Cassiopeia demanded we make this passage, before Poseidon becomes enraged with Andromeda’s words and lets loose the wrath of his jealousy upon the innocence of the young girl.

Which is what brings us here, to the centre of the sea as the night falls.

The sun, I am sure will hiss and splutter as it dips itself into the dark waters of the Mediterranean. Perhaps not, but that is how it seems from my vantage point on this deck.

The mint tea is refreshing, revitalising. It replenishes that which the sun has drained from my body and Sucked from my skin and eyes.

I lean back, the night air is still and warm. It hangs almost immobile, just brushed by the lightest of night breezes. The silence it brings forms an accompanying peace.

All is well with my world, for this moment.

Cassiopeia settles into the seat next to me, she rests her head against my shoulder.

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“Will we make landfall tomorrow, Cepheus?” she asks.

“If the winds be to our favour” I reply.

“Then I shall dry Andromedas tears” she says, kissing my neck gently.

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Georgina.

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Looking in the rear view mirror I could see her scribbling away, scribbles, shapes, stick men, stick cats, dogs, all sketched on small yellow sticky note squares. Some were now stuck to the door, others at odd angles on the window and, no doubt, many stuck to the back of my driver’s seat.

It was the quietest Georgina, my four year old daughter, had been all day. I kept glancing back, often taking my eyes from the road longer than I should, longer than was truly safe. But Georgina mesmerised me. The way her curly golden hair framed the pale unblemished skin of her face, the sparkle of her blue eyes and the way she bit down on her bottom corner of her lip as she concentrated on drawing with the brightly coloured felt tip pens on those little yellow pieces of paper.

I know, as her father I am somewhat prejudiced in saying she was the most beautiful child in the world; but that is my right, my unquestionable belief and my own undeniable truth. Yet, still I challenge anyone to declare Georgina is anything but stunningly gorgeous.
The radio was turned down low, the music nothing more than a gentle tempo, a harmonious accompaniment to the sound of the tyres rumbling over the tarmac.

After some time I was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable, neither Georgina nor I had uttered a word for the last ten or eleven miles. I think it is an adult thing, a sense of duty, a sense of being expected, obligated, to do something more than just sit in silence when you are charged with the care of a child.

So I spoke, hoping to engage Georgina in some form of conversation.
She was drawing with a day-glow pink pen when I asked “Do you like pink?”

“Yes” she replied, not looking away from her work.

“Is that your favourite colour?”

Georgina said “Yes. They are all my favourite colours. I like all the colours”.

“And what are you drawing?”

“A cow”

“What is your favourite animal?” I asked.

“I love all the animals”.

I was bemused, continuing I asked her “Which day do you like best?”
Georgina stopped colouring and lifted her head, her clear blue eyes looking directly at me. “I love every day Daddy, don’t you?” She smiled and settled back to her drawings.

I let her be, left her to sketch uninterrupted.

A large smile spread across my face as it dawned upon me, I had just been taught an amazing lesson by the innocence of a young child.

© Paul White 2015


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