It is the calm after the storm ...
I drove all last night through some of the scariest, most terrible weather I can remember ...
This morning's sky is sparkling and fresh,
gleaming from the torrential rains which rocked my blood courier van from one side of the interstate to the other.
Once I wrote of THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM
(from ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM) --
Samuel McCord is alone.
Meilori is off selecting her gown for the night's festivities, the Ball of Love and Madness.
It is to celebrate the DEMETER entering the legendary Devil's Triangle.
Samuel is admiring the molten, sleepy head of the dawn peeking up over the horizon.
Dr. Stewart, the ship's doctor, approaches him.
Footsteps to my left. I turned. Dr. Stewart. He looked gutted.
“Maija,” he said and explained everything.
“What about her?”
“I - I thought we had become --”
“Maija is like the sea. You never know all about her.”
“I was an old fool.”
“Lot of that going around.”
“Lady Meilori is her sister. I thought you would have some idea of how -- I mean -- just what I might have done to offend Maija.”
“How do you know you offended her?”
“She told me not to come to tonight’s Ball.”
“I’ll be damned.”
“She actually does care for you, doctor.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Things are set to get awfully ugly tonight at that Ball.”
“Maija knows this?”
“She’s part of it, doctor.”
He paled. “I knew she had a dark past.”
“Her present’s rather black, too.”
He looked anguished off into the horizon. “I sensed that. Good Lord, how can I be attracted to such a woman?”
“People are never one thing, doctor. There are always several faces behind the mask they show you.”
I reached out and squeezed his shoulder. “One of those faces cares, truly cares, for you. Just be glad it exists -- and that whatever you two share is real.”
He swallowed hard. “But if something criminal is being planned for that Ball, I should be there.”
I shook my head. “No. Let Maija have the knowledge that she saved you, and that in your heart she is still someone worthy of being loved.”
He smiled as if that heart were breaking. “You are not the typical policeman. You are a romantic.”
I put my gloved forefinger to my lips. “Shhh. You’ll ruin my reputation.”
He straightened as if a heavy weight had been lifted from his shoulders. “You’ll be there, won’t you?”
“Yes. I’ll stand in for you.”
He nodded and walked away. Soft footsteps behind me. I turned. Maija. She looked at me intensely for long moments.
“This changes nothing between us. You will still be destroyed by the end of this evening, and I will play my part in it. Play it most wholeheartedly.”
“I would expect nothing less from a future empress.”
She looked hot into my eyes. “Fool! You will hold back against me for my silly attachment to the good-hearted doctor, will you not?”
“I imagine so.”
“It will be your undoing.”
“Then why do it?”
I shrugged. “Don’t know any other way to be.”
She studied me.
“I shall feel the emptier tonight after what must be done is accomplished. Yours is a face I shall miss, strong without the cruelty of toughness, kind without the bruise of weakness. When I have rid the world of that face, I shall have deservedly earned the hatred of my sister -- and of myself.”
“Then don’t do it.”
She bled a smile. “I know of no other way to be.”
Below is the evocative STANDING THE STORM by the piano genius of William Joseph.
Endure the darkness at the beginning, and you will reap the light and beauty of the tune -- much like what happens when you find the courage to "stand the storm."
Reading my post to the music adds to the enjoyment I think.