Early evening come in the blink of an eye, as the sun passes over Rafael's shoulder and illuminates the map. There'll be treasure here, he knows it. Incomings and outgoings, losses and gains. The ltitle latch on the gate clicks shut behind him. How much change will he see, when he shoulders open the door to this cottage on the cliffs he calls his castle? He has returned, as he knew he must, knowing all manner of love and its cargo of grief. He has heard that a broken heart is an open heart.
When he enters the house, there she is, at the kitchen table. What price his soul? She is reading from one of the books, turning its yellow pages in the sun's borrowed gold. Under her breath she is calculating his heart's ransom. All these things he thought he could not live without. He is acutely aware of the cliff edge behind him, through the open door. Don't bet more than you can afford to lose, his brain-chatter warns him. Have you a penny to pay the ferry? When the time comes to count the cost will you still be arguing about who found this fortune or will you cease to care. A cacophony, or a symphony in his head. Or perhaps just the brass section warming up. When the pounds aren't taking care of themselves he is in a state of febrile excitement. He has come to get what he wanted and something else he didn't expect. A jar of pickled onions on the window ledge glows like a jar of captured moons.
At last she looks at him and all the questions subside. He had wondered what she'd make of him, when she saw him with his broken fingernails and his crock of fool's gold. And now, before her, he sees she loves him, simply, broken as he is. She has the coins to redeem all his sins.
The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele