The word came with a passing ship. He wasn't coming home. She always knew, really. He'd lost his way, and stubborn, male, and Irish he refused t0 ask for directions.
He blamed her. She clouded his brain, he said, obscured the horizon, bewitched him so he couldn't read the charts. Maybe a little, she thought. Maybe a little... but that wasn't all. He'd lost his way and he wouldn't ask for help.
She packed the loom under leering eyes while suitors jostled to head the line, so filled with their own greedy lust they couldn't see her emptiness. They'd find no joy between her legs. There was nothing there for the taking.
It would take a magic tongue - and no, not to to lick her awake, but to caress her with words, with metaphor, with undemanding attention with coaxing, with teasing, with poetry and cleverness, with everything she'd had before and then a little more. There were things he couldn't do... things she never spoke of... and more than that, this bold sea captain had such fears of love that all the dangers of his journey were nothing compared to the dangers of lying contented in her arms.
She stood by the window and stared out to sea, whispering prayers to the wind. "Be safe," she wept. "Be safe, sail straight, find your way, look at the stars. Ships will pass that know the way, they will help you, pull alongside and ask, you'll see, they know the way. "
"I'll never forget you!" she cried. "I'll never really let you go. With you I reached Olympus, with you I kissed the sky, with you I found true peace no matter what the pain to flesh and soul. There were moments, you know that, we had moments of beauty, beauty and union and friendship and love. I'll never forget that, I'll never forget you, go wander the oceans, I'll go on with living, there's no need to worry. No need to worry about me."
"But I'll worry about y0u," she sighed. "I'll worry about you. If I could, I'd stand there by your side, our hands together on the wheel, and together we would bring the great ship home. But I can't. I know. You need to make this journey by yourself. So go. I'll be all right. But should a passing ship bring word that you are still alive, I'll be better."
"And know this. Always know this. The door remains open to the traveler home from sea. Lover, friend, or stranger, all will find a welcome. Whether as master or guest, you always can come here."
"Go in peace, my Captain. Be at peace."
Then she sighed, turned away from the window, and went to feed the cats, leaving the plants to soak up her tears.