Silas’s only love had been the sea. He’d left home at 15, scrubbed decks and stoked engines. He liked the loneliness of water all around.

Even in port he never strayed from the waterfront where ships tied up and sailors fought, drank and waited for their next passage.

If he wanted a woman there’d always be a place he could have one—a pleasure that could strip a man of his wages. He did his best to avoid it.

He became a master seaman. His ships became larger. The ports upon which he called took on a machine-like appearance. Day and night they unloaded and loaded. No one cared any more for stories of storms and famous ships.

Silas retired to the town he’d left fifty years before. In his restlessness he wanted company. But the company of city women was hard to find. They didn’t know where to start with a man who’d lived a sea life.

Until Jan recognised him from her school days. He couldn’t believe it after all those years. She loved his stories. He learned to be interested in what she liked too, which was knitting. ‘Knitting’s just knots,’ he said. And he thought about splicing. The strongest way to join two ropes was first to unravel them a way then remake them as one.

 

2011-Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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