Is there anything more sad than a bed half-empty that was once half-full? The thought came rolling around in Aria’s mind every time she approached her bed at night. Likewise when she rolled over each morning to stare at the space where her left arm now fell lifeless, daring to expand across the halfway point that used to separate her from her Theo. With Theo’s absence, her body had started to wander into this space usually reserved for him, but she couldn’t shake the guilt that she was encroaching on his territory even though he wasn’t there to occupy it.
There was a time when Aria looked forward to Theo’s trips, having the bed to herself for one, but also being able to choose the simple differences like eating only what she wanted for dinner, and going for a walk with her hound, Laela, on her schedule. Aria felt the sun’s warmth before she saw it knowing that it was slowly clearing away the night’s cold sea fog. She summoned the courage to open her eyes, yawn and pull her nightgown down past her waist where it had crept up to in her slumber. She moved barefoot across the floor to his chair, the one with the best view of the ocean crashing on the rocks below. The woolen throw that he often kept nearby had lost his scent after only a few weeks but still Aria wrapped herself in it, tugging the corners under her chin, inhaling deeply to find the fragrance of his musk. Only the stronger tug of goat hair came through though, and the emptiness left her feeling chilled despite the weight of the heavy blanket.
Aria picked at a few dates and seeds on a nearby plate having abandoned the rich cheese and bread noshes that she had indulged in when Theo first left. Instead her fingers moved to the knitting beside her, a blanket that she had begun to add another layer to the bed dressing now that rainy season was approaching, and in an effort to bring back the same cozy feeling when Theo was home. Soon the click click of her needles increased in speed with each stitch beginning to match the tide rolling in, her breathing keeping pace and her mind contentedly occupied with this satisfying mechanical action.
In this lull, Aria became aware of a bell ringing, a strong dull sound masked by the distance and at first Aria wasn’t sure that she was hearing anything at all. Doubting her own senses, she tried to continue her work but couldn’t concentrate having been distracted by the sound, she couldn’t. The fisherwoman had already brought her the weekly supply of food yesterday. Her mother-in-law had not written of a possible visit. Who could be approaching the island and why? Sighing with irritation, Aria rose from her chair, and moved to put on a gown in case a visitor actually was on the way. Slipping into her simple leather sandals, she grabbed the woolen throw and opened the door for Laela to bark her way down to the pier.