“So my old friend, who do you think should take should take your place? Not that you can really be replaced of course!” Marcelle stroked his stubbled chin a moment. “Well, let me see. He would have to be able to stand up to you and be able to out drink yah. And he has to be able to put up with your feminine charms, womanly emotions, and trips to the tailor.” Cathern punched Marcelle playfully again. “Oh please, I am NOT that bad! If my mum were still alive she would tell you that I act more like a rabble rousing man than a lady.” Marcelle chuckled a bit. “One doesn’t have to be a lady to be all woman. I jest in any case. If I had to pick someone to fill these old boots of mine I might be picking Johan Van der Beeke.” Cathern was a bit surprised by the choice but Johan was a good man with over a decade experience on the sea. He was a Frenchman born on the border with the Netherlands and one of her officers she had sailed with many a time on her packet-boat. Level headed, slow to anger but firm when needed. Not terribly well educated beyond the sea but a good sailor and mate never the less. “If that is who you think should fill those stinky boots of yours then that’s who it will be Marcelle, if he wants the job of course. It won’t be the same though. I have known you almost all my life. You have almost been a father to me. You were there after my parents…well you have always been there.”
The two stood silent, the sound of the sea, the crew chatting and going about their work, a few sea birds squawking out there calls filling the air. “I should tend to my duties my Capitaine. Those louts need close watching or nothing would ever get done.” Cathern smiled, “Go on then, I’ll be below deck working with Jazelle.” Marcelle straightened up and went amongst the crew barking orders and inspecting the work, his pain fading a bit from the Scotch and warm sun as Cathern went below. After looking things over Marcelle went to bow and relived the man on watch there. The ship cut gracefully through the water, a bit of spray flying up from time to time. Marcelle had seen much in his years and had sustained a number of wounds which amazingly never took a limb or an eye. He had seen much of Europe, the coastlines of Africa, the cold of the artic, and the tip of South America. He had seen whales, sharks, great white bears, and even the carcass of a kraken which in centuries to come would be called a giant squid. It was a hard life but a good life. All things must come to an end and he now longed for family ashore. The young girl turned bold and pretty woman was more than ready to do without him. There was something sad about the moment. Death would not be long in coming. Every day he could feel it approaching. He wondered if it was fair to marry Simone knowing that he didn’t have many years left. He dismissed the thought. Simone was young and could find another man. He had saved up much gold to ensure she would be taken care of all of her days. Yes, he thought once more. It was time to finally time to say good bye to his old and constant friend, the sea.
One of the crewmen working nearby noticed tears coming down Marcelle’s cheek but said nothing, wondering what could bring the old sailor to tears. The crewman went back to his work, deciding maybe it was better to not know.
[Anyone else ever tear up while writing? Geesh. The end....]