Here’s another offering for the lead up to Valentines Day. It is a repost that has been retitled and revised a little.
The sun was shining through the blind, and I thought how pleasant it would be to pass through the quiet town and take a solitary ramble on the sands while the world was in bed.
(from ‘ Agnes Grey’, a novel by Anne Brontë)
Her first glimpse of the sea was from a room as small as the experience was vast. It wasn’t the best lodging in Scarborough, but it offered a brightening view of the bay below the promontory where a castle crumbled and sands stretched wider and wider along the indecisive surf.
Wintry gusts whined against and even through the room’s grimy window. She dressed warmly to go out before breakfast.
Things were happening in the harbor with fishing boats; on the pier shops and stalls were preparing to open. Until that morning she had only ever seen gulls playing flying games over plowed fields for the freedom of having lost their way. Now they seemed agitated in a place they belonged. Her footprints on the sand were the first since the last tide, so she could imagine she was walking where no one had before. It was colder than expected, but nothing could dissuade her from approaching the sea and what it might do next. If it had been summer she would have taken off her shoes and stockings and tiptoed into little bursts of foam at the water’s edge where seaweed bobbed to and fro. Instead her gloves were washed in icy sand as she examined shells and pebbles.
Seagulls were circling above her now, the sun dispersing any clouds as it enlarged and chose to illuminate her for whoever was there to see.
A man was coming down the strand in a great cape that belonged to an actor’s wardrobe, hailing her with hand and voice and assuming she was glad to see him.
She surrendered long before he caught up with her.
“You must be perished. Here.”
She stopped the cape from sliding off his shoulders. “Then you’ll be cold.”
“I can bear it.” He turned, wondering what distracted her from him.
It was just a thought. That she might share a little of her passion without any impropriety, looking beyond his intention and the on-looking tiers of tile-roofed houses. She pointed to the northern gray of a simple church presiding like a cathedral. “St Mary’s. Where Anne Brontë is buried.”
“Interesting.” His smile said otherwise.
“Scarborough is where she saw the sea for the first time, too.”
He rubbed her hands.
She no longer had a choice, his cloak embracing as if to hide her, stroked over her ears and cheeks, fastened under and lifting her chin. She was ashamed she could be so ready for his advances: a long kiss, an uncertain happiness, a dance without music, and a pleasure that didn’t know how to be.
The Cathedral bells signaled a chance passing. He held her arms when they separated a little and didn’t seem to notice she was crying. “Ah. I can smell chestnuts roasting. Breakfast.”
In another moment it wasn’t hard to let him go.
©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.