The Dividing Tide – Episode 55

Jenna shut the cottage door behind her and ran lightly down the path towards the cliff top. It was a beautiful morning, the kind of October weather that seemed to gather the remnants of the summer into one last glorious burst of warmth.

It felt to her that the whole of the past year had been leading her to this point.

The thought of becoming Garren’s wife made her want to skip for the sheer joy of it. She wanted to run and jump and laugh and cry all at the same time.

This is the last morning I’ll walk along the cliff top as Jenna Goss, she thought. This very afternoon in Merrick Church I will be joined to the man I adore.

Gradually, her exuberance calmed and she looked around her as she walked along. The early morning was still and bright. Not a leaf moved nor a bird sang.

How strange, she thought. It was as if time were standing still. Even the way the sunshine glanced on the changing shrubs and trees seemed to hold a promise, though she knew not of what.

Despite her happiness, the day also held a tinge of sadness. She had always thought her father would be there to see her wed. Through all the years he had been away, she had never once allowed herself to give up hope of his returning.

He was her dear papa, after all. He had told her he would return and she had trusted that he would.

But as she had grown from girlhood into womanhood, she had also realised that life did not always go according to a person’s own plans.

Sometimes things happened to alter them and there was not a thing to be done about it.

She continued along the cliff edge in the direction of Bidreath. She would walk halfway there and back again. That should be enough to get the fidgets out of her.

She dared not go further for there was still so much left to prepare. She’d left pastry resting and it would soon need to be rolled out for the stargazy pie which Garren had requested for the wedding feast.

Then she had to wrap up the lace cap she had laboured to make for baby George, so that she could give it to Morwenna at the church later.

There were her Sunday-best boots to brush up, her dress to lay out on her bed, the table to be laid for the wedding breakfast, the vegetables prepared…

Her busy thoughts were interrupted by a movement. She had thought herself alone on the cliff top, but her gaze was drawn to a couple walking towards her, a middle-aged man with a woman dressed in a cloak beside him.

Her footsteps slowed and she stood watching them for a moment. There was something about the man’s gait, the way his steps swung a little from side to side.

“What a cruel trick of the light it is,” she murmured, “to be reminded that I’ve lost my dear papa, today of all days.” Her eyes blurred and she looked away.

However, she couldn’t resist looking back, and as her gaze rested once again upon the man, her heart began to race. As his face became clearer, it beat faster and faster.

Then she was running, her skirts catching at her ankles. Faster and faster she went.

“Papa! Papa!”

The man stopped, looking at her in bewilderment for a moment, then with a gasp he opened his arms.

“Jenna!” he said. “Is this beautiful maid really you?”

She felt his arms, just as strong as she remembered them, close around her.

“You’ve come home, Papa.” She sobbed. “You’ve come home, and it is my wedding day!”

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.