by Frederick Kesner
He who dares talk with her in silence,
Listening even as he speaks her name;
Whose pulse is mingling with her stirring heart;
Who walks at once beside her without qualms:
Jean walked onto the shore, heavy footfalls carrying the bulk of his frame toward the boat. It was more of a canoe than a dingy - some homemade watercraft that bobbed up and down as the tide came in.
In the boat was Dana. She was a tall, lanky girl. Girl? Almost girlish in her looks. There was an innocence about her. It would never betray that she was the mother of a 5-year old boy.
Dana looked morosely over the boat's edge. The warmth of Jean's torso shielded her from the biting wind. He barely spoke a word. His face firm and set as he began preparing to boat for their crossing of the channel. She felt safe when he was close by. He who had been there for her at each turn these past few gruelling days.
Who can sense what she feels, and is there all along
When something goes wrong and when she's most alone;
Who understands her fears, tries to find the answers
When she faces the unknown, when questions fill her head.
Dana looked at the distance, eyes piercing the haze covered horizon. Her forehead slightly furrowed. There were so many doubts and questions that as yet had no answers. She stooped slightly trying to control her shiver as splashes of water made known to her it could be cold and wet, this journey she was making.
From a satchel in the depths of the shallow boat he pulled out a windbreaker and motioned her to put it on. They hardly spoke. He wasn't the type. And besides, they did not speak the same language.
The weariness of her heart banished for he is here.
His words may not impress, physique unadmirable;
His tongue and his hands often misunderstood.
He is true to all, though he may not be strong.
Dana looked across the channel, cradling herself while keeping her balance. The water was choppy and windblown. She had to curl up because of her ungainly height. Jean looked sideways, catching a glimpse of her in the corner of his eye. A trace of a faint smile barely visible. He had a huge task before him. Protecting his new found friend from hostile elements - both human and the forces of nature.
She seeks what seems to shatter former views;
Asking herself if as one their paths will fuse,
She recognises there is something here;
They both will never be again the same.
In the dimness of that late afternoon the first lamps were blinking in the distance. It was hard to tell which part of the village they were heading for. The salt spray stung their eyes. The prospect of tomorrow was not a guarantee.
Dana hoped that she would meet up with Jeraud, her little child. He had to have arrived on the other side with his nanny as they fled in the night before the tide went out completely. She clutched with white-knuckled determination, looking forward and then snatching a last look back to verify if her tormentors were in hot pursuit. Just then a gentle but firm hand squeezed her aching shoulder. Jean looked in her eyes and motioned with his head to look forward again.
She follows him within her when he leaves,
Begs him to tarry longer when he stays;
Before he finally goes on his way,
Spends his time with her while he is around.
As deftly as he manouevred the boat, Jean hopped onto the jetty. Their journey across the channel uneventful in spite of inclement weather.
It was now dark and more lights flickered along the coastline. The air didn't seem any different there. But there seemed to be more space to stretch out and breathe. He secured the boat and gathered the satchel and other loose items. His job done, he would find himself some place to sleep for the night.
Dana ahemed and looked up, her feet pointing almost toward each other. She took half a step forward and fixed him in her gaze. He turned his head to face her and stopped in his tracks. He looked around, panning the shoreline carefully and waited. She moved toward him and they start walking, shoulders almost touching.
From that single moment there on after,
The aching void in her dissipated;
Biding time as friends, no longer strangers;
She is lifted up, her empty days filled.
Thank you, she said under her breath. Thank you for doing this for us..... for me.
Her gates fly open, yearnings departed,
And yesterday is yesterday for good.
She recognises something there that has changed;
Suddenly knowing what she saw was true.
High up on a balcony overlooking the other side of the channel two figures are seen, seated on white wicker furniture, fine crystal goblets splashing rainbow sparkles in the night sky. The wind was less menacing now. It had dropped down to a cool breeze.
To them both, that world that they can still see now seemed so far, far away.