The man on the shore slept in his sleeping bag, waiting for the dawn

on

When the wind freshened, the man on board felt it, he dreaded it, he knew the
danger. The night, the night. When the moonlight vanished, the man felt the
storm, but then he saw the moonlight, and knew he was safe.

The man on the shore lay in his sleeping bag, feeling the storm, waiting for
the dawn. As the sea began to rumble, he moved his head, but could not stop
the waves lapping him. Out there, there was no shore. There was no life.

When the man opened his eyes, he saw the light and the morning. But it was
not a sun coming out. He could see nothing except the great blue sky, the
waves moving in the dark.

The man turned and sat up in his sleeping bag. He saw the shore on his left,
and knew it was land. With that, he began to get to his feet. He had slept
in his clothes, lying in his underclothes. He had to use his legs. He began
to walk the shore, feeling his way with his hands.

As the man walked, he saw the small fishing village in the center of the
bay. He saw the boats drifting with the dawn, heard the fishermen singing,
and smelled of the fish in the harbor.

The fisherman’s boat bobbed to the surface of the bay. He grabbed the oars,
pulled out toward shore. His wife sat in the stern, talking with the man
beside her. They came in under the breakwater.

The man took out his wallet and removed his cards. He tried to remember
their names, but the names had slipped away and were gone as if swept by
a great wind. He placed the cards in his wallet and looked up and down the
bay, searching for the name on a card.

The fisherman sat in his boat, pulling toward shore. He saw a young man
walking the shore in the early morning light, with his head down, and his
arms folded. He saw the dark hair, the long, straight nose, the full lips,
and the strong eyes. He heard the fisherman’s wife say, “I like your hair,
son.” A strange smile came to his lips. He pulled away from shore to go
find the man.

The man had made it back to the village, had arrived at the harbor, when he
saw the man walking on the shore with no shoes on his feet.

He climbed into his sleeping bag, pulled his boots on over his shoes. Then
he put on his pants and underclothing. He pulled on his coat, pulled on his
scones and pulled on his hat.

He walked down the shore to the fisherman’s dock, found a boat that had an
empty berth there, and made for home.

His mother was waiting, and he came in with a little girl in his arms. His
father sat in the living room drinking coffee. There was a little girl with
him, a little girl with blond hair and big eyes.

His mother cried, “I’ve missed you,” and he cried, “I’ve missed you,” and it
was a short time before the family was gathered around the table at the back
of the house in the little living room.

After a time, his father said, “Son, I think I would not live with you any
more if I were you.” The little girl was listening, and was looking at him.

His mother laughed. “Well, son, I’ve got a job for you at the mill.” She
began to tell him more about it.

“Yes, sir,” he said. “It will take me quite a while to learn all I’ve got to
know, but I’m sure I will learn.”

“Well, son, I’ll have my coffee,” his father said. He looked at the little
girl. “You’ll be staying with us with the baby, won’t you?”

“Yes, sir,” she said, and her father smiled.

Then the little girl started talking to her father.

The old man and the little girl talked about many things. The little girl
talked about the new baby. Her father talked about his work. The old man
talked about the weather and the lake.

After a little while, the little girl said, “I’ve got something I want to
say.”

“I know,” her father said. “What is it?”

She took a sheet of paper from a drawer in the kitchen and wrote a little
note. She handed it to her father.

He read it and made no comment at first. Then he said, “Well, you’d better
stay with us a spell. I think you should like the little girl a lot.”

The little girl nodded.

Then her father said, “I’m going to go fishing for trout. Could you mind
the baby?”

“Yes, sir,” the little girl said. And with that, he turned and left the
house.

Her father’s footsteps rang on the wooden floor of the kitchen as he went out
into the yard. His words echoed in his thoughts as he walked, and finally
he turned and looked out of the window, at the little girl, in the yard, on
the grass, looking back at him as he turned away to go into the house.

The little girl watched him, and then she looked out of the window and said,
“I don’t want to go away from here. Can’t I stay and help you?”

“If you want,” her father said, and his eyes were upon the girl as he turned
to go into the house.

He went into the kitchen where his mother was making pancakes. “I hope you
won’t be too lonely with the baby,” he said.

She laughed. “I’m not the only one. I hope you’ll stop and talk to my son
while you’re here.”

“I do talk to my son,” he said, “and I will, I will, I will.” He went out of
the kitchen and down the hall to the living room.

A little girl stood in the door with a small white bundle in her arms. She
saw the little girl standing in the kitchen with a look of surprise on her
face. She said, “I didn’t expect to see him again,” and her father smiled.

The little girl went into the living room and sat down. Her mother began to
make the coffee, and she served him a cup.

He said, “I hope you don’t mind having our daughter along.”

“No,” she said. “It’s nice she’s here.”

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