Helena and the Sea

Helena stood on the open balcony of the highest tower of the house.  Far below, on the other side of the clear barrier, the sea glimmered like an emerald in the rocky setting of the bay.  Her hands shaded her eyes.  Ferdinand came up beside her.  He leaned on the rail and gazed out toward the water.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” he asked.

“What is it?” Helena wondered aloud.  “It seems large for a lake.”

Ferdinand was astonished, but remained kind.  “The sea,” he informed her.

“It’s not how I’d imagined it,” she declared.  Suddenly, she turned away, realizing that perhaps she should have been embarrassed by her naiveté.  After composing herself, she looked back at her husband.

The Vice Chairman was interested.  “Well, go on,” he insisted.

“Didn’t men go mad with love for the sea?”

“You don’t believe it?” he challenged.

Helena looked back at the glistening water.  “It’s nothing but a looking glass!” she exclaimed.

“What were you expecting?” Ferdinand asked light-heartedly.

“I thought,” Helena began, then paused, collecting her disorganized impression, “It would be crueler.  Less forgiving.”

“Is that what love is?” Ferdinand wondered, bringing his hand to his eyes, squinting at his wife through the broken canvas of daylight.