Later that afternoon John and Emma went for a walk along one of the many coastal paths around the harbor. The locals were happy to see Emma again, although an eyebrow was raised when she introduced John as a friend who was staying with her for a while. No doubt the news would send tongues wagging.
“I hope my being here won’t cause you too much trouble.”
“Don’t give the matter a second thought,” she says, “gossip is always brewing in a small village. I’ve lived with it all my life.”
“Oh well, just think how boring it would have been in the Garden of Eden, I mean the conversation between Adam and Eve must have been dull at times as they had nobody else to talk about.” This causes Emma to break out into joyous laughter. It has been so long since she truly laughed.
“You say the most amazing things at times John, how do you come up with such sayings?”
“I don’t know I must have had a good sense of humor before I lost my mind,” he quips.
They walk on in silence a little while longer before John decides to ask Emma the question that has been plaguing him.
“Why did you invite me here?”
Emma stops and looks at John for a moment before answering. “I want to help you?”
“But why, why help me? There are so many other patients that also need assistance, why am I special?”
“It’s hard to explain, to put into words that make any kind of sense.”
“Please try,” he urges.
“Well, ever since you first came to Shadowland,” she begins, “I’ve had this feeling, this overwhelming urge to help you, to save you from the demons that haunt you. At first I put it down to my late fiancé who was killed at the start of the war. I couldn’t help him but I could help others and by doing so keep his memory alive. But lately I’ve come to believe that it’s something else.”
“What?” He questions.
“It doesn’t make sense, it’s ridiculous,” Emma doesn’t want to say more.
“Please Emma, nothing you say to me can ever be absurd.”
“I feel as if I’ve known you before.”
“What, before the war you mean?” He queries.
“No, shite, this is so bloody preposterous,” she can’t bring herself to say it.
A past life, the thought comes to John.
“I wouldn’t say it’s as farfetched as you might think,” he says with genuine sincerity. “The world is a strange and wonderful place and who knows what bloody forces manipulate events and people.”
“Well, whatever this connection is that I feel I have to you, whether it’s something otherworldly or just a load of bollocks, I can’t believe I’m saying this.” Emma turns away from John and looks out upon the ocean. John remains placid waiting for Emma to continue.
“I can’t walk away from it, I can’t walk away from you,” she finally says in a slightly choked voice, her eyes still staring out at the cold Atlantic Ocean.
John follows her gaze out upon the water not sure what to say. He lets the fresh sea breeze wash over him several moments before he utters, “It’s so peaceful here. The troubles of the world seem so far away.”
“Maybe that peacefulness can help you.” Emma turns and looks at John.
“Oh Emma, sometimes I feel as if I’m living in that final breath before death claims you.”
John feels the tender touch of Emma’s hand upon his. He turns and looks into her eyes, so full of hope, how he could so lose himself in those eyes – how much he wanted to.
Emma moves in close to him and places her lips upon his, at first hesitant, John soon returns the gesture. The contact between them is sweet and brief, but the sensation lingers, promising more to come.
Copyright © 2010 by Peter Jessop