The ghost shadow of the sunlight on the sea swims across my ceiling. My door is opened. As I walk down the corridor to the open gate, the twelve guards turn their backs to face the wall. Although my window faces the Ocean I have to use the corridor to get to the beach. I had dressed hurriedly in just linen trousers and tied back my hair with a piece of worn thin leather. I want to make the most of every morning.

The feeling of the warm sand on my bare feet is a glory in and of itself. Measured at at an even distance there are more guards with their backs turned, some twenty odd feet away in both directions. I barely notice them anymore. I walk down to the edge of the sea and strip off my trousers. I fold them and drop them onto the sand adding my leather string on top.. The water is a clear as a sapphire and warm, almost like a fine oil. I wade  out until I am deep enough to swim, when I reach the pontoon I climb out and lie in the warm morning sun. I could lie here all day if I chose. Lie here until I was bleached bones. I sometimes dream that I have done just that and then I wake to my large almost empty bed chamber.

I must have drifted off because for a few moments because when I open my eyes the sun has moved a little higher in the sky. With I sigh I stand a dive into the water and head to the shore. I pull on my trousers over my wet skin and squeeze a little water put of my hair. The sun has started to bleach it in places. Tying it pack into a ponytail, I walk back to my chambers where three blindfolded young woman have drawn me a bath. Sometime I bathe, sometimes I prefer to leave the sea to evaporate on my skin leaving it salty to the taste. Not today. I undress and step into the pool sized bath. The three woman wash me with natural sponges and then dry me and massage fresh cut Aloe into my skin to counteract my habit of falling asleep in the sun. They bow as they walk backwards out of the room. I long ago gave up speaking to them. I do not know if they are forbidden to speak or just do not understand me. I try to decide if I should practise archery or ride my horse up onto the hills. Time spent riding my beloved Accius often wins but today I want to fire my bow… I am bored. I walk out into the hallway. The guards all immediately turn their backs so I walk through the cool stone high vaulted walkways to the gymnasium.

It is empty of course, so I take my Bow and quiver and walk down to the range. I manage to waste time almost until the sun is directly above, then retrieve the arrows and take bow and still full quiver and place them in the rack. As I turn there is a young man standing behind me, I am so unused to anyone looking at me I simply say “Hello.” His eyes open in surprise. “Hello… You’re looking at me.” I’m slightly confused by the question. “I was just thinking the same thing.”

We stare at each other in silence for a few moments. “Everyone looks away, or is blindfolded.” He sounds sad.”Yes they do the same to me.” I say as I take a step forward. Oddly we both reach out to touch the other at the same time as though we both seem to need to be sure the other is real. The tips of our fingers brush together. We both smile and then start to laugh, I do not either of us could have explained why it was funny it just was.”Are you hungry?” I’m not but he may be. “He looks quizzically at me. “No. Are you?” “I like dates.” I’m not really sure why I said it but it is true. I like the sticky texture. “I have dates and wine in my quarters.” Neither of us say anything more until we are half way to my Chambers.My new companion turns and says “I am Cathaoir.”  I stop walking. “I never thought anyone had a name but me. My name is Mabon. How have I never seen you before?” We carry on walking and I realise he is holding my hand. “I went to swim in the lake and I suddenly thought ‘If the guards cannot look at me or touch me, I can just leave’.” I had never thought of that. Afer a pause I laugh and say. “There is a lake?”

We talk and laugh late into the afternoon. Drinking wine and feeding each other dates and figs and smoked meat. We hold hands again and run across the sand, shedding our clothes as we run into the sea. We pull ourselves up onto the pontoon and lie still for a moment. Cathaoir rolls onto his front and leans on his elbows. “How long have you been here?” I sit up, He asks confusing things. “I have always been here.You?” He looks sad again. ” A long time. I was once in another place but I was exiled here.”

“What does ‘exiled’ mean?”

Cathaoir smiles. “You really have always been here. Exiled means you are sent away, never to return.” I don’t understand so I say nothing. There is nowhere but here. He reaches out and strokes his hand through my hair. “It is very long.” No one has ever touched my hair before. I do not know why but he puts his lips on mine, it feels very nice. He laughs and rolls off the pontoon into the water and starts to swim back to shore.  I dive in afterwards and we walk back to my rooms. “It is late and I have a long walk.” I do not want him to leave. “You can stay here and tomorrow we can take my horse and you can show me your lake.” He smiles and takes my hand and we walk past the backs of the guards into my bedroom, we lie down on the bed and he strokes my hair and puts his lips against mine again. “You are lovely.”

I am sorry he was sent from that other place but when you are immortal with no one to talk to it , it is a blessing to have someone to spend Eternity with.


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