The Passed Note Issue 8 October 2018 - Page 52

He moved more quickly, walking bent over with his hands near the ground, ready to catch himself on the drenched rocks. He was almost there. He had almost caught her.

She had turned up only a month ago, about the time that her last child had died. He had first seen her standing up to her ankles in the sunny waters of the bay, her brown skin shimmering in the light, looking out at the peninsula that blocked her view of the rest of the lake. He still remembered the look in her eyes, as if she had been waiting for something. He had felt that somehow, even when she spoke to him, she hadn’t really been listening. She had been listening for something else.

Just like a nine-year-old who had never stopped listening for a car to come back.

“Your voice sounds like hers,” the graveyard elder had added wistfully. “Are you related?”

No, but he knew what it felt like to lose everything, and it was enough to make him care.

He couldn’t separate his rapidly beating heart from the shaking of the earth. Would she kill herself? Maybe she’d be lost in some other way, lost more completely. He thought of the first storm that had changed everything. Then, a second one he didn’t want to remember, when he had tried to start again