Sometimes it is not the length of the journey, but the direction.
Photo credit: Vollwert BIT (altered)
As the sailors bustled about, snapping down the sail, Jallen kept her eyes locked on the building on shore. Home. Or it had been, until today.
So familiar, this act. She had stood on deck in this harbor countless times. Heading up the coast for peppers and spices. Heading down the coast for pine nuts. With her parents and brother. Then just her parents. Then just her father.
He stood at their front door, on the dock. Watching, vigilantly, ensuring all was well. He didn’t wave. He wasn’t a waver.
But now she was heading west, out to sea. Over the horizon, far and farther, to a land she’d once thought was make-believe.
They pulled anchor. A soft lurch—nothing really, as though it were not important at all, leaving—and they were away.
Beside her, the captain raised his hand to his heart in salute. Jallen followed his gaze to her father, watched him nod.
The captain touched her shoulder, timidly, gently.
She nodded, blinked away tears, looked west.
They had a good wind.
**Note that “hard to port” means to turn the tiller toward the port (left) side of the ship, so that you actually move toward starboard (right) — that is, you turn away from port.
See the next story, Unstoppable Waves, for the father’s perspective.
This is my entry for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Thanks as always to Priceless Joy for organizing this wonderful challenge! The inspiring photo prompt is shown below – thanks to Louise of The Storyteller’s Abode! Click here to read the many wonderful stories written on this prompt by other boggers — and submit your own!