Nathaniel Burns: Farewell

    The salty sea breeze played with my short hair as I walked across the ship's deck, already swaying beneath me as waves lapped beneath it. I looked to the dark blue ocean, the glowing sun gazing over the horizon, tossing golden rays and amazing colors across the sky and sea. I breathed deeply, content, stacking the wooden crate I was carrying alongside all the other crates and supplies.

     I turned on the heel of my boot and made my way off the boat and to the dock, crowded with supplies, livestock, and people loading onto the boat for the New World. Most were men, though wives, children, and friends lined the dock to bid farewell and watch the action.  The Queen Marie's valiant sails crowned the scene, the handsome, brand new ship named for-and funded by-the young queen of Larnyl.  I pushed my way through, standing on my toes to see over all the crowd. Then I spotted the two heads of coppery hair.

     Slipping between some more people, I jogged over. My three sisters and Mother stood idly in the midst of all the action, huddled together as they looked around. Lobelia the youngest turned and saw me first, calling to the rest of the family, "There! There's Nate!"  Her small figure trotted over to me, her rosy, eight-year old face looking up into mine. 

     Soon the other four were around, my mother continually asking, "Are you sure you have everything dear? Are you certain?" her worried somber face constantly checking me over. Her extraordiarily curly reddish hair, bleached out some from the sun, was pulled back from her face, tamed for the time being with a ribbon of sorts.  Anna Marie, the second youngest, smiled and hugged me several times, occasionally wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. Most of all I believe I would miss her. We were closest in age-I was a year and a half her elder at seventeen-and had always been the closest of friends. 

   "You look pretty," I smiled playfully.  Anna Marie rolled her eyes. She despised wearing gowns and doing hair, probably why we got along so well, and today her straight silky red hair was combed to perfection and her dress clean and neat. My last and eldest sister gave me a gentle hug, her eyes scanning over me like mother, asking similar questions, and having me recall everything I brought.

    The dock began to clear of supplies, and fill more and more with spectators and family calling farewells to loved ones. A horn blew from somewhere on the boat, and a man called for all to board.

    Everyone gave me one last hug, Lobelia crying for me to stay instead, as Anna Marie continued to wipe her eyes. As Mother gave me one last embrace, she murmured sternly, her voice wavering a little, "Stay safe, do you hear me? Stay safe."

    I could feel emotion welling up inside me as I took a final look at my family, feeling the tears developing behind my eyes. "Farewell," I bid hoarsly, nodding my head before sprinting off to jump onto the ship just as they were finishing loading up the crew.

    The ship drew away from the docks, many men eerily silent, watching as the land began to shrink, and then slip from view. How long would it be before we returned...if ever.



The End

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