top of page

George Ferryman - 9

[Read the first eight installments here.]

Everything was blue, from the deep sky to the sea of cornflowers surrounding her. Marilyn felt the man’s calloused hand in hers as they floated to the middle of the field where a puffy white comforter rested amongst the blue like a cloud. He stroked her soft cheek as they lay together, gently following the contour of her face. His breath in whispers, hers suspended in her throat. Their hearts beating in unison: tap, tap, tap.

“Tap, tap, tap?” part of Marilyn’s mind questioned, “Hearts don’t tap.”

Tap, tap, tap.

Marilyn rolled out of her dream, annoyed by the interruption. She found her robe and shoved her feet into the flips she had kicked off near the bed. Who could be knocking on her door at this hour? A peek through the peep-hole revealed an empty corridor. She opened the door to no one.

Tap, tap, tap. “What the…?” she thought, searching for the source. A shadowy shape caught her eye. A large black bird – a crow? – was tapping on the window, trying to get her attention.

“It’s too early for visitors,” she snapped at him, glancing at the bedside clock. “It’s barely 5:30!” The crow looked at her quizzically for a moment, then flew off.

“Well, I’m up now,” Marilyn stated, “might as well start my day.” She slipped into a sundress and left her hair loose, thought about taking her sunglasses but decided she didn’t need them, and prepared her coffee to go. A heaping tablespoon of instant grounds and a splash of milk later, Marilyn took off for her daily walk along the beach.

A soft golden glow illuminated the sand. Sunrise wouldn’t be for another half an hour or so, but it was enough light for her. It was much quieter than her usual walks later in the day. Alone on the beach, she focused on the sound of the waves kissing the sand over and over like new lovers. The thought stirred an early morning memory, putting a crooked smile on her face as she strained to recall the image of the man in her dream.

As beautiful as the sunrise was, Marilyn thought of herself as more of a sunset person. Someone who looked back, reflecting on triumphs and challenges that had presented themselves over the course of the day. She sometimes kept score between the two. Back in New York, challenges were in the lead by a country mile, but since landing her new job in Paradise it seemed as though triumphs were catching up.

The thought paused, suspended in mid-air, as her eyes registered the outline of a man up ahead. He was sitting in the damp, night sand, and even from a distance Marilyn could sense something was wrong. His legs were pulled in tight, knees drawn into his chest, arms encircling his shins. His head was bowed down, as if the effort to keep himself upright was too much to ask.

Marilyn stopped, not knowing if she should approach him, wondering if he needed privacy (what her head told her) or companionship (what her heart suggested). She stood in limbo for a moment. Then, at the exact moment she decided to follow her head, he lifted his and turned to face her.

Her heart recognized him before her brain confirmed it: The man from the dance floor.

Marilyn felt herself walking towards him while George’s eyes tracked her final approach. She was soft and quiet, but not tentative. There was something palpable in the air between them that grew stronger as she grew closer. It was something unfamiliar to either of them: A sense of possibility.

She sat down in the sand beside him and pulled her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around her shins to mimic his. It was a subconscious attempt at solidarity, support for whatever he was going through. She gazed out over the water, but George’s eyes never left her face. He read her profile like a familiar bedtime story: Once upon a time there was a tanned forehead, long eyelashes, the slope of a nose, and finally, a pair of exquisite lips. The End.

Marilyn turned to George. His blue eyes were rimmed in red. She offered her hand.

“Hello,” she said softly, “I’m Marilyn.”

[more to come]

Field of cornflowers


bottom of page