Emily tried to make herself fit into the tiny nook as if she were part of the ship itself. Breathing ever so softly so as to remain unheard by various crewman working below, she counted off time in her head against the beat of waves against the hull. It would never do to make herself known while her father could easily turn around.
Eventually the steady sway of the ship rocking in such a soothing rhythm lulled the precocious girl to sleep.
Daniel stood at the gunwale staring into the open sea. The horizon was almost seamless this day, the blue of the ocean matching the great sky above, interrupted only by the blazing yellow sun. Soon it would change, for though always all encompassingógreat expanses of blazing crimson at sunset, glories of gold and pale pinks at sunrise, velvety blackness at night, or even the glistening silvery-gray of a dense fogóit was ever-shifting.
Perhaps that was what Daniel loved most about sailing. Staring at Godís ever-changing watercolor canvas, where the shapes and colors blended so easily. So perfectly flowing from one to the next.
A long sigh escaped as he remembered the part he didnít like about sailing.
As captain of a merchant sailing vessel he was never obliged to stay home long, and it seemed to him that heíd no sooner touched the brown earth when he had to leave it and his family behind.
Footsteps sounding far too light to be any of his men padded toward him.
He didnít turn as Emily joined him at the rail.
"Yer still at anchor." The dejection coloring her voice made his heart break, just a little, almost making him wish he hadnít known she was aboard and heíd set sail.
"Aye, daughter. Ya didnít really think ya could stowaway without me knowing?" He cocked a parental brow at her, but inside, Oh, how he wished he could let her come.
"But it seemed like I was down there forever!"
"Thatís how it feels to me too, when Iím away." He put one of his heavy callused hands on her slight shoulders.
"Why canít I go?" She looked up with those vibrant green eyes that so reminded him of his wife.
"Yer mama needs ya, darlin. Look," he said tenderly as he turned and pointed toward the docks, "here she comes now to fetch ya."
The little girl wrapped her arms around his waist, burying her face in his scarlet greatcoat.
"Why do ya want to go so badly anyway? Itís wet and cold, and thereís no place to get out of the storms when they come."
"When you tell mama about all the colors you see out on the water, I want to see them too."
"You can always come out to the shore and look." Then he turned her toward the little town. "And look at all the colors you can see there." He pointed out the little white fishing huts, the great stretches of tawny sand, gray thatched roofs, and the meadows of pastel wildflowers blooming on the hillside.
"They have lines." Emily crossed her arms.
"The colors donít blend together. They all stay separate. Not like your colors. The colors you say fill the sea and the sky all the way Ďround so ya canít tell which is which."
Daniel shook his head ever so slightly at the observation of his child.
That evening at sundown Emily sat at the dock with her mother and little brother looking into the sea where her father had disappeared earlier that day.
He had promised her a surprise.
Her mother bade her squeeze her eyes shut tight.
When finally she was told to open them she couldnít stop herself from gasping.
The sky was filled with royal purple, graced with pink clouds. The water was rimmed with orange and it filled her vision from all sides, making it hard to tell which way was up and which was down.
Many leagues away Daniel looked in the direction that his family lay, though he could not see them, and imagined the delight on his Emilyís face. Heíd dipped into some savings and instructed his wife to buy two looking glasses. At sunset, if she held them just right on either side of Emilyís head no matter where she looked her vision would be filled with all the colors of the world, all the colors of love.
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