©1998 by sunstruck

        She smiled.

        The woman wandered aimlessly along the wharf. The wind off the water would mischeviously puff strands of her hair across her face, obscuring her eyesight. Patiently she'd reach up and brush the long brown strands back behind her ears. As soon as she'd complete her little task the wind would strike once again. With great forbearance she'd repeat the steps to the dance started by the wind, a smile still curving her lips.

        Pausing at the edge of the weathered wood pylons the woman closed her eyes, raising her face to the watery winter sun. Inhaling, she digested the smells pouring forth. Diesel fuel from the fishing boats, sweat from the working fisherman manning them, the catch they caught that morning were welcomed by her. Most of all, the indescribable smell of the sea itself brought her satisfaction.

        Always, always a smile on her face.

        If any of the fishermen or the fish process workers receiving the catch bothered to look closely, they'd notice that the smiles themselves changed in subtlety with each passing thought crossing her face.

        Shoving her cold hands into her overcoat pockets she turned to her right and continued on down the wharf. Turning left at the first gangplank, she walked down the wooden slats to the docks below. Each step she took at first were jerky but soon she learned to walk in rhythm with the rising and falling waves.

        As she passed the boats moored in their slips she'd look closely at the names written across the stearns. "The Twelth of Never" brought a puzzled smile to her face. "Sassy Siren" had her eyebrow coming to quick attention. "My Final Getaway" had her nodding in understanding.

        She stopped as she came to the second to the last boat.

        A grizzled old man climbed up from the galley below and started polishing the brass fittings on deck. Bent over his task he at first didn't notice the woman. Something compelled him to look up. He saw the young woman standing near him reading the name of his sailing schooner.  The woman looked up and their eyes caught. An instant of total communion transferred between them. With almost mirrored movements their faces formed into shared smiles of the same thoughts.

        The increased rocking of the dock had the woman break eye contact with the old man. Turning her head back along the way she had come she laughed as the reason for all her smiles came pounding at a fast run towards her. Swept up in her lover's arms, twirled in a circle, she lowered her mouth onto the smiling lips eager for her kiss.

        The old man continues to watch instead of turn away. The joy abounding off them was contagious. For just a moment he let's the feelings engulf him in a warm blanket. He watches as their kiss reluctantly ends and they turn and walk up the gangplank the the very last boat tied to the dock.

        He sees the woman turn to him one last time and smile before she and her lover go below deck. He returns the smile and goes back to polishing his boat. Before he turns completely away he catches the name of the young couple's boat. "Into Eternity" has him breaking into a bright smile as his thoughts turn back in time.

        With an extra brisk rub on the brass fittings he chuckles aloud.

        Next on his list of chores is brightening up the paint on his boat's name, "Remembrancer".

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