by Sebnem Sanders
Without a pre-set destination, I escaped from the city and drove down the highway. Sitting behind the wheel for hours, my hopes of finding a place that might inspire me had almost diminished. I took the next exit and turned into a country road. Cruising slowly on the scenic route, I came across a blue board that said Angel’s Cove.
Turning right, I followed the winding path that took me up the hills and down them, on the other side. A bird’s eye view of a village appeared in the distance. A rivulet shining like a silver beam ran through the middle of the settlement, all the way to the sea. Idyllic.
I parked the car and walked along the canal. Charming two-story buildings and cottages with thatched roofs and small gardens. Multi-coloured blooms cascaded down their windows and low fences, filling the air with exotic aromas. Everyone on the street smiled and said, “Good Evening”.
I stopped in front of a house with a sign, Rooms to Let and rang the bell at the reception. A thin old lady greeted me and took me upstairs. The inviting fragrance of a fresh sea breeze filled my nostrils as I stepped into the guest suite. Crisp white sheets on the bed, a small wooden wardrobe and a high-back chair upholstered in blue and white fabric with a seashell theme.
The old lady with violet eyes and silver grey hair recommended a fish restaurant and said, “Say Rona sent me.”
On the way to the seaside, I crossed a dainty hardwood bridge, curving over the canal, and entered the restaurant, Marvin’s Wharf.
A handsome blond man with golden streaks in his hair greeted me and led me to a table. I looked into his ocean-blue eyes and said, “Thank you, I’m Doris. Rona sent me.”
“Hi, I’m Marvin.”
I sampled the local white wine, dined on oysters and sea bass while watching the view of the bay. Tired from the long drive, I decided to have an early night. When I asked for the bill, Marvin said, “I’ll add it to Rona’s account. Maybe you’d like to try the beach here, sometime. We’re open all day, for drinks and snacks.”
Back in my room, I slipped between the white sheets as a cool ocean breeze flowed in through the open window. Muted sounds seemed like a lullaby. For the first time in days I had an undisturbed sleep.
My complexion soft and glowing after a shower with kelp soap, I gazed outside. A cloudless, cerulean sky and a glorious sun. I checked my mobile. No signal. I grabbed my bag, went downstairs. Rona greeted me. “Good morning, hope you slept well.”
“I feel brand new. Everything carries the scents of the sea.”
“We’re sea people. I’m afraid you won’t find much here except seafood.”
“I don’t mind, I love it.”
“Have a great day.”
I had breakfast at Marvin’s and settled on a deckchair under a parasol on the beach. After reading for an hour, I walked along the edge of the sea. The powdery white sand seemed to stretch forever. I swam in the blue waters to my heart’s delight.
By the time I returned to the restaurant for a snack, Marvin had come back from the sea with a fresh catch. Over calamari and beer, we chatted. He invited me to his fishing boat the following morning. Being a sea and boat person, I accepted, besides who could refuse this man with golden skin and striking eyes?
On my first day in the village, something had caught my attention. Everyone I had seen had blue eyes and fair hair, except the elderly with silver streaks.
Late that night, looking through my window, I saw a group of locals, with the children, heading to the sea.
I met Marvin at the wharf and we sailed into the open waters. I watched him prepare a fisherman’s breakfast, freshly grilled and fried seafood served on paper. When I asked him about the people last night, he said, “We take our nourishment from the sea.”
“Is that why you all have blue eyes?”
“You’re all blond, too. You must come from the same background.”
“Legend says we date back to Atlantis, but you never know.”
“My name means the sea.”
“So does mine and everyone in the village.”
“But I have dark eyes.”
“Dark eyes, we never see them here.”
I spent the rest of the week on the beach, going for walks, swimming and eating seafood at Marvin’s. My mobile never had a signal, but I didn’t mind. He took me on his boat a couple more times and on the last day, he held my hand and kissed me. I tasted his salty skin on my lips and ran my fingers through his cornsilk hair. “I wish I could stay, but I must go. Perhaps, I’ll come back.”
“I wish that, too. I’ll miss your dark eyes.”
I left the village with a sad heart and drove back to the chaotic city. Each day at the office, I dreamt of Angel’s Cove and Marvin. At the weekend, I decided to return to my heaven. Taking the exit to the country road, I continued, watching out for the blue board. Though I went all the way to the end of the road, to my despair, there was no sign, nor a turn. At Mermaid’s Bay, I asked for directions to Angel’s Cove. No one had heard of the name. I stayed at the village that night, frustrated, and planned to explore the road again early in the morning.
The next day, I drove very slowly up and down the road several times. To my distress, the blue sign did not exist. Where had I been? Was it a dream?
Back in the city, I searched the name on maps and travel directories. Nothing. I checked my credit card bill. No charge. Although Angel’s Cove did not seem to exist in reality, it still remains in my heart, together with the sea people.
Sebnem E. Sanders is a native of Istanbul, Turkey. Currently she lives on the Eastern shores of the Southern Aegean Sea where she dreams and writes Flash Fiction and Flash Poesy, as well as longer works of fiction. Her flash stories have been published on the Authonomy Blog, The Drabble, and Sick Lit Magazine. She has a completed manuscript, The Child of Heaven and two works in progress, The Child of Passion and The Lost Child. Her collection of short and flash fiction stories, Ripples on the Pond, will be published this year. More information can be found at her website: https://sebnemsanders.wordpress.com/ where she publishes some of her work.