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Edition 25: What the Sea Wants by Deborah Sheldon

The Mary Jane sails away from the storm that almost took her, and it looks like plain sailing hereon out to Joseph. However, the sea is a fickle mistress, hiding all manner of plans behind her deceptively gentle waves. SY

The gale passes with the dawn. The Mary Jane barely lifts on the swell, her mainsail fortified with the bonnet and drabbler to better catch the breeze, her square-sail full on the mast. The North Sea lies as green and calm as an English meadow. Joseph puts on his cap but the cold still bites at his ears. The wintry air, like a ghost, moves through anything it pleases, stinging his fingers and toes, slicing without resistance into his belly, his marrow. It’s a familiar discomfort.

Joseph leans on the gunwale to better enjoy this rare moment of rest.

The sky shines pale and clear, a sign of good fishing. Once thrown, the nets will be full of cod and herring within a few hours. Joseph longs for something to eat other than fish. Mostly, he craves bacon and potato pie. His wife, Amelia, is a good cook. He sighs. The Mary Jane has been at sea for weeks. It’s best not to think about one’s wife and the various pleasures that she can offer.

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