The House by the Sea
I looked and saw a sea
roofed over with rainbows,
In the midst of each
two lovers met and departed;
Then the sky was full of faces
with gold glories behind them.
�Ezra Pound, `The Sea of Glass”
Kathyn had lived by the sea since he was twelve years old, when his mother brought him and his infant brother to live in the port town of Highmouth, and the eighteen years that had passed since then had not made him hate it less. The only thing that kept him there was his brother, who was a sailor, and all he had alive in the world. Their father had been a sailor too, and it was for his sake they came to Highmouth in the first place�quite pointlessly, for he had been lost to the sea within a year of their coming.
Then, they had lived in a dingy waterfront hovel, where there had been from daybreak till dusk neither peace nor quiet but the sound of the docks, of cargo şişli travesti loaded and unloaded and men embarking and disembarking, and tavern brawls and caterwauls, and husbands thrashing wives and mothers thrashing children and the smell of fish and sewers and stills and always, at the back of everything, the sound and smell of the sea.
The place where Kathyn lived now was behind a courtyard planted with the tallest, greenest trees that would grow in the salt soil, sheltered from the withering wind by the adjoining houses that formed its walls. It was as far away from the sea as you could be in Highmouth, but even so you couldn”t escape the smell or sound or taste of it.
Kathyn kept every window sealed shut, and stuffed paper in the crack below the door to keep out the brackish air. It did no good. The salt got in anyhow; formed little white trails on the window-sills and crusted up the glass, which was such a weariness to clean. Kathyn had given up years ago. He”d gotten used to seeing by the dimmed light, and there was always the oil beylikdüzü travesti lamp when needed for sewing or reading, and plenty of candles. He got them through a neighbour whose husband owned a candleworks on Sull, and who kept all the tenants on her floor in light.
The age-darkened driftwood furniture only added to the gloom of the place. On Ingelsea the precious timber from the inland forests was reserved for use of the Admiralty. Furniture was imported, if you were rich, or else reclaimed from the sea. No two pieces of it were alike, each article of twisted and discoloured wood assembled with such intricate craft it looked as if might have grown so, in some drowned forest on the ocean”s bed. Some might have called it quaint, and indeed, it was apparently in high demand in the Home Country. Kathyn just thought it uncomfortable and untidy. And no matter how long ago it had been reclaimed from the depths, the ocean”s scent and presence still lingered on it, stamped it faster than any craftsman”s mark.
And yet, leaving out the furniture istanbul travesti and the windows (which would not be sensible, as that was fairly all there was to them) the rooms were clean, and they were quiet. And to be alone in a quiet house was still something Kathyn relished like a fine wine. Sometimes he liked to just sit by the fire (sea-coal, but it burnt cleanly), doing nothing at all except soaking in the luxury of not having anyone shouting or quarrelling or demanding he do this or stop doing that. Only, lately that had become less satisfying, and the silence had started to wear. He had no friends to speak of, or family to his name. No one except his brother, who was away at sea.
To some wives, Kathyn had no doubt, the walls and the waiting and the nothingness of the days without doings to fill them would have been a purgatory without hope of heaven, a prison without the promise of release. But it was Willym who had the adventurer”s heart that craved wildness and newness and unconfined space, and freedom. Kathyn only needed Willym. He had not seen Willym or heard his voice for three years.
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