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Visitation

Post 1

nadia

There is a figure approaching in a coracle. She has more hair than she used to; it’s been growing while she’s been gone. Nadia steps onto the Pier and a brief wind whips curls across her eyes. She pushes them back impatiently and when she can see again the seal is there.

‘Took you long enough to come back.’

She shakes her head sadly and the seal stamps a flipper.

‘What are you doing out here if you’re not stopping?’

‘If you think about it all coasts are connected. I thought I’d hop over from mine to yours. I came to tell you a story.’ The seal settles back on his flippers and looks deeply unimpressed. She shrugs and turns to go.

‘No, wait,’ the seal splutters. ‘You’re here you might as well get on with it, but don’t take all day.’ Nadia settles into the posture of storytelling with her hands clasped behind her back and her head raised proudly.


‘Some time ago, in a place that was no place a girl came wandering and stopped for a while. She made friends and wrote a bit because she was a writer and writing was her greatest joy. One of the friends she made was also a writer and she admired and enjoyed his work and his conversation and all was good. But the girl had a sickness which sometimes made her life very difficult. One of the ways that it did this was to take writing, which you will remember was her greatest joy, away from her. Now, she had thought that writing was something that she could never really lose because it was part of who she was. But the sickness got worse and she could not write for a time. As that time got longer she began to doubt. Was she still a writer? How could she be when she never wrote? The doubt grew until she could not remember how it had felt to be sure. She had misplaced inside herself the thing that made writing happen. Her friend came then and said “take my hand” and she took his hand and he helped her up and gave her a start. So she wrote and it bled some of the doubt away. Not all of it because she still could not write for herself but it was enough. There was something she could hold up against the doubt and say to it, “see, here is writing, it is not all gone and one day the rest will come back. I am still a writer because writing is not something that I do it is something that I am”. It still hurt but it did not hurt as much. Her friend did not stop there. He made it known that he cared, with great compassion and sympathy but no pity. He held to an image of her that was good and worthy and when she could not see that in herself she could see that he still did. When things had got better she came to her friend and she did not know what to say to him because she could not think of any words that could tell him how much he had done and how much it had meant. Then she smiled at him, and said “thank you”.’


Quiet follows the end of the story, the only sounds those of wind and tide playing their song. The seal and nadia consider everything that could be said, but each in their silence knows that none of it needs saying.

The coracle dances impatiently at the end of the Pier. She has to go; somewhere in the distance an attic is being cleared and she’s supposed to be helping. This stolen moment has come to an end.

Nadia steps back into the coracle and waves to the seal. He raises a flipper and bristles his whiskers. She thinks, as the Pier disappears beyond the horizon, that it is a good thing that all shores are connected. It means there is always a way between them.


Visitation

Post 2

Pinniped


The seal lays on the ice and gazes at the stars.

He should have worked all that out, he knows.

But all that matters is that there'll be another time.

Pinniped smiles in the darkness, and blinks away a tear.


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