Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bon Voyage

I stand here. You stand there. All that is between us is space and time. The dock’s wind brushes through it, catching the edges of your cream colored dress. Your gloved hands, like two delicate doves, fly down to straighten the wanton winds’ creases. As you look up from beneath the shade of your wide brimmed hat, my eyes catch yours.

Today the sea is a dull, ashen color that I really don’t care for, pale foam cresting the green-grey hills. The smell of salt, and fish, and coal smoke waft through the calls of gulls and chattering people. The great ocean liner stands here in the background, large smoke stacks like to ancient Grecian pillars rising heavenward. People are already walking up the gangplank, faces beaming in anticipation of the voyage.

But for now, all I see are your eyes. Your eyes which are so mysterious. Your eyes which like the weather and the wind, changes and dances and laughs at me. Your eyes whose color I can never catch; the deeper person behind the colored lenses always drawing me in. Drawing me in and drowning me beneath waves of passion and love. Those eyes that now sparkle with anticipation, and a tinge of fear. But exhilarating fear. Why can’t you read my eyes as I can read yours?

Your suitcases and trunks are all packed, ready for the voyage. I knew this day would come. I could see you longing for it. I saw the signs, heard the hints, caught the longing in your whole being. You really want to do this. You really want to go on this voyage. And I like to think that you’d like me to come along.

But I can’t. You think I won’t. But I can’t. My father has not given me leave. There are matters to be attended to. I won’t bother you with the details, I don’t want to burden you. My cares are mine to bare… for now. I must attend to my father’s business before I can be free to travel, before I can go on a voyage like you are embarking on now.

“Well Liza, you seem packed and ready.” I smile, even though I don’t want to.

“Yes! I’m so excited. All of my friends took the Grand Tour and kept telling me how amazing it was and how I was missing out. I’m glad I decided to take it as well. Even though originally I was somewhat apprehensive. But now I’m going and I’m glad I am.” Your smile is genuine; my heart breaks that it is genuine. Will you miss me at all?

“I was in a similar place. My own family wanted me to take the tour. But my father. Well he said that this wasn’t the best season for me to take this voyage. He suggested I wait a year or two. I’ve wanted to go since I was ten. I guess I can wait a few more years. But you go and enjoy it for the both of us.” Here I need to take a breath; otherwise my emotions will begin to surface. My true emotions. “Well, it seems that today’s weather will be perfect.”

“Oh yes! It’s simply marvelous! I can’t wait!” I just want you to be happy.

“Liza! It’s almost time to go!”

I don’t feel any particular way about Julian. A school friend, he seems like a decent specimen of man. But him traveling with you? That is what makes me sick to my heart and leadens my stomach. If you had only waited, we could have taken the voyage together.

“Julian! I’m coming! I’m just saying goodbye!” you call back. Your cheeks go bright red. Mine go pallid.

“Well, if you’re really sure you want to do this.” I don’t want to burden you. I won’t say the words my heart ache to say. No, all I will say is goodbye… for now.

“Well….” Your eyes draw me for a few seconds, my heart rises. “Yes. I’ve decided. I’m going with Julian.” And everything comes crashing down inside me. But I’m still smiling.

“Alright. Well, I’ll be here when you get back. Don’t forget to write. Bon voyage.”

“Goodbye. I’ll write to you about it all.”

And so you walk away, your white parasol in one hand, the other wrapped around his arm as he leads you towards the gangplank. I stand here watching you both go. It feels like I can barely breath. I remind myself of my father’s words and wisdoms, but it doesn’t help the pain. Not at all. I still stand here. You still stand there. So much time and space between us.


  1. I like it a lot, Jean! Good job!

  2. oh, sad...But I really, really liked it!