The Dividing Tide – Episode 44

Garren made his way through the narrow streets of Bidreath and turned on to the steep track leading to the cliff. Soon the little cluster of cottages was far below.

Pausing at the top to catch his breath, he noticed Old Joe shuffling along towards him, puffs of smoke from his clay pipe streaming behind him in the breeze.

“Joe!” he called.

“Well, if it ain’t young Quick. I knew you wouldn’t stay away for long.” He paused to take another puff of his pipe. “You found that girl o’ yours, then?”

Garren’s gaze dropped to the waves below splashing against the rocky shore.

“Yes, I found her, Joe, but I’ve not brought her with me. Seems she’s found a better life.”

“A better life ’n this?” Joe gestured towards the sparkling sea and the fishing boats bobbing upon it. “Don’t you worrit, lad. She’ll be back, you’ll see.” He lifted his hand in farewell and continued on.

Garren turned in the direction of Merrick Cove. It had been desperately hard leaving Jenna, but seeing Old Joe made him realise it was good to be home.

The leaden feeling inside his chest, however, remained. Jenna was the only girl he’d ever loved. He’d thought they’d be together for ever.

Why did those Nankerrises have to come along and spoil everything? St Austell might only be a day’s journey away, but she was as far out of reach as if she’d gone to America with her father!

He thrust aside an overhanging branch of blackthorn. Old Joe was wrong. Jenna wouldn’t come back. Why would she, when she’d found such comfort and luxury? She’d chosen a new life, and he had to accept it.

Memories crowded in on him as he walked. How beautiful she’d looked the day she’d come to the clay mine, dressed in all her finery. She’d looked every bit the lady with her fancy blue slippers and her golden ringlets peeping out at the side of her bonnet.

Where was the girl he loved, who used to work at the fish palace, whose hair was swept by the wind and whose hands were red-raw from the cold salt water?

She’d turned her back on her old life. And as her old life included him, it meant that she had turned her back on him, too.

He had to pull himself together. He wasn’t the first man to lose the woman he loved, and he doubted he’d be the last.

When he reached Merrick Cove he turned up the ravine to the cottage, noting the new chimney stack and bright patch of replacement thatch.

Doryty was standing in the shelter of the wind-bent hawthorn, gazing inland. He followed the line of her sight and was just in time to see a figure on horseback disappearing into the hills.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.