Seeker by Rita Pomade

Seeker by Rita Pomade

Author:Rita Pomade
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781771833523
Publisher: Guernica Editions
Published: 2019-05-02T16:00:00+00:00


Chapter 19

TERROR ON THE HIGH SEAS

Summer 1983: Sri Lanka To Singapore

We are the sea’s and as such we are at its beck.

We are the water within the wave and the wave’s form.

— P.K. PAGE

With Dède gone, Bernard slipped back into the easy relationship he’d had with Stefan and me before her arrival. I was caught off balance by his sudden shift from blind devotion to Dède to bringing us back into his life. I hoped he’d be receptive to talking about it.

“What happened?” I asked. “Why did you turn against us when your mother was here?”

Bernard looked puzzled. “What are you talking about?”

“You know, yelling at Stefan and putting me down in front of her whenever you could. You hardly talked to us and behaved as though we were strangers.”

“What have you got against my mother?”

I remembered him telling me years before that his mother was a controlling and manipulative woman, and that I should be careful of her. Now he was defending her. I wondered what had changed. But then he smiled and gave me a hug, and my anger and suspicion disappeared.

Sri Lanka wasn’t the paradise Clarke wrote about, so we weren’t planning to stay long. However, the visit of Bernard’s mother delayed our leaving by several weeks. We now had a shorter window of time to cross the Arabian Sea before the start of India’s southeast monsoon season. A tropical storm over such an enormous body of water made sailing through one too dangerous to attempt. We had to leave soon, but needed to work on the Santa Rita before our departure.

With the yacht raised onto its cradle on dry dock, Bernard and Stefan took turns climbing a ladder to the underside of the hull to scrape the hard crustaceans that held fast. Barnacles that clung below the waterline created a drag that slowed our speed under sail and burned too much fuel under engine. The antifouling applied in Taipei should have protected the hull for a longer period of time, but the boatyard skimped on the application. Now we had no choice but to repaint the hull’s bottom before we sailed.

On one of Bernard’s trips down the ladder, he slipped and fell, cutting his shin. I had the first aid kit ready the minute he scrambled into the boat. As I was about to clean out the wound, I asked him what he thought the white stuff was in his leg.

“Bone,” he said.

“Oh,” I muttered.

I handed him the paraphernalia for dealing with the problem, backed myself into the settee on the other side of the salon, and went into a slight swoon.

Bernard quickly cleaned and dressed his wound, pulling the two edges of his cut shin together with a butterfly bandage. In less than a half hour he was back outside working with Stefan to lower the Santa Rita into the waterway leading to the ocean.

“We’ve no time to lose,” he said. “I can’t wait for this leg to heal.”

He showed no irritation or impatience with me for my inability to help him dress his wound, but I felt ashamed.



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