As Kelly sat in the old diner booth, she reflected on her long life and retraced the steps that had brought her to this island. When she got to the memory of what had served as her ‘boat’, she quickly changed the direction in which her mind was taking her.
She thought of the silk wrap Byron had given to her. She had wanted it so badly and he had shown up at her door with it in a gift box. He had known she loved it; he hadn’t known why.
Her mother used to have one like it, and she had always let Kelly wear it when they played together. They would dress up and have tea parties in the garden. Those were some of her fondest childhood memories.
She thought of Byron. The man seemed to be divided into two men in his head. Not like a personality disorder, more like yin and yang. She supposed everyone was like that to a degree, but it seemed that both sides of Byron were dominate at different times; and all his triggers seemed to be centred around a mate.
He had been loving, gentle and kind; as well as mad and terrible.
Kelly absently stirred her coffee while her thoughts drifted aimlessly. They carried her back to a time long ago, to a different man; one so unlike Byron. To this day, she hadn’t met anyone else like him. He was the only man who ever truly had her heart.
Kelly shook her head to clear the emotion. She would always miss him. He would always come into her mind at random and sometimes she would grieve for him all over again. It was like a wound that only pretended to heal.
She shook her head a second time as she removed the spoon from the coffee and finally took the first sip.
Allowing herself to get caught up in the soothing warmth of the drink reminded her of another time, also long ago, when she’d tried coffee for the first time. She had hated it then; of course the coffee here, today was very different. And, thankfully, a great deal better.
As she took a second drink, she suddenly remembered her first sip of Irish coffee. At that memory she laughed, nearly spewing the drink she hadn’t quite swallowed yet.
People turned to look at her. Some of their expressions showed concern, others showed annoyance. The the waitress made her way over to check on her.
After assuring the waitress everything was fine, she turned to stare out the window. She continued to let her thoughts run their course as she watched the world go on around her.
This type of thing happened to her every once in a while. Her life would seemingly fall apart, then come to a pause; effectively creating a period of reflection. She had learned to just allow the thoughts and memories to come but not overtake her.
It was like passively observing the past to help decide the next course of action.
Ironically, her life operated much the same way. She often felt the world spinning around her as she stood still, trying not to let it whip her up into its chaos.
Every now and then, someone would see her standing there and reach out from the chaos. When she wouldn’t take their offered hand, they would simply stop with her…for a little while.
That’s what Byron had done.
Seeing that her thoughts were straying back to the cliff incident, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, allowing the thought to fade into another.
This time it was a place. Beautiful, lush, rolling, green hills as far as one could see; sistered with equally astonishing level fields where tall, wispy grasses and barley waved in the breeze.
It was Ireland again. It had become her home after she’d left her birth home in Italy and she had instantly fallen in love with it.
It seemed everywhere she looked there was beautiful scenery to behold. It was a place that seemed to never dull; no matter how much it rained.
Thanks to the hilly terrain, there was always an amazing vantage point. Her favorite spot provided her with an endless slideshow of spectacular scenes. It was positioned on a flat on top of a hill that was, to her, the perfect height for viewing.
It wasn’t so high up that she could see the surrounding waters and busy towns. It wasn’t so level that all she could see was the ground immediately around her.
It offered the perfect middle ground; a view that left her surrounded in a scene that made her feel free and light. It was as though burdens were not allowed here; as if it was sacred.
She supposed that it was sacred; at least to her. It had felt that way while she was there and still made her feel that way whenever she reflected on it.
She kept her eyes closed and allowed herself to relax. Her mind carried her back to that place and time, her heaven on Earth.
She could once again feel the thick grass under her bare feet, feel the warm breeze caress her face and hear the not too distant singing of an Irishman…
Kelly’s eyes suddenly opened, already brimming with tears that she refused to shed. She would have to find a more private place when she left here and allow the grief to come over her again. She knew if she didn’t it would continue to creep up on her at random times.
The soft spoken words had come from an elderly man, who had sat at her table while she had been revisiting her past.
Kelly quickly sobered from the old pain and became angry with herself for losing her focus in public like that; she knew how dangerous that was.
The old man, seeing that he had startled her, held his hands up to show her he wasn’t a threat and apologized.
“I didn’t mean to surprise you, miss. When you didn’t respond to my approach or first greeting, I thought it best to be silent until you came around. I assure you, I mean you no harm.”
Kelly took a deep breath, allowing all the thoughts and memories to settle for now. She smiled at the little, old man and thanked him for his patience.
He nodded his head slightly in polite acceptance of her thanks. “You are as gracious as I remember.”
Kelly didn’t comment or change her expression as she looked at the man, trying to figure out where she might know him from.
“I may have changed a bit since we last met.” He chuckled. “Though, I imagine, not as much as others would expect after a couple of centuries or so.”
End of Phantom Island- Story 8-Part 1-“Mr. McCray”
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