Zoë Landale

Writer & Indie Publisher

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Daughter (Part 1)

Dearest, isn’t this how the nicest letters begin? News from the front, the wartime graininess of black and white film, the jerkiness of uniformed soldiers moving in what is emphatically not a joke. Dearest, how dark we are getting. Dear heart, is that lighter?

I will be in to see you tonight. It’s staying light later now as the year rolls toward spring; I hope that when I drive off the ferry, the sky will still have a rosy glow of brightness.

A phone call from your dad at home to say my tea is still on the counter. Yes, I realized that half-way to the ferry, could see my stainless steel travel mug by the spalted maple bowl on the counter. I’d made a cup of fragrant candy apple rooibos to take with me and then, in a hurry, walked out the door without it. Well, I will buy myself tea on the ferry, likely Earl Grey. I tell myself the world is full of riches, just sometimes (often?) they are not exactly as specified in the scripts we all run in our heads. How clear our scenarios are in those frame-by-frame set of expectations. They have coloured flags like Buddhist prayer flags. Goodbye, I wave. Flap flap, orange, yellow, green, blue, they wave back.

Under cloudy skies, I watch the dark bulk of Portland Island to my left. Off toward Saltspring, the sun lays a rim of bright water around the island, a puddled halo. Yet the island top is shrouded in cloud.

I feel like newspaper in a woodstove when the fire starts to run along it, only instead of flame, what I feel is a gentle, tentative happiness. A not-exhausted happiness. A good cuppa tea pleasure. A looks-like-the-weather-is-clearing lightness. Off to the south, the cloud is lifting.