It had been fourteen months since Abagail and her son, Jimmy, had arrived in New Zealand. The year was 1841. The trip out in the sailing ship had taken several months. It had taken some time to settle in after arrival, especially with lack of work and money. Abagail’s husband had stayed in England for a few weeks longer to tie up loose ends. Then he boarded another sailing ship and headed out.
After six weeks of Abagail and Jimmy waiting, the husband’s ship never came into harbour. Perhaps it had been caught in a storm; perhaps it had sunk, as many do.
Two months passed. Three months. Abagail was out of pocket. She worked down at the wharf in the evenings, doing what she described as “woman’s work”. That is where she met Barry. And now, fourteen months later, and the courts having annulled her first marriage, or at least having declared her husband “presumed dead”, Abagail and Barry tied the knot.
It is wonderful to be able to move on after tragedy, declared the vicar at the service. It is wonderful to be able to move on after tragedy, declared Barry at the reception. Suddenly Jimmy arrived at the door.
Look! It’s not Maxine’s fault that her husband was a sour-puss from the second he stepped onto the cruise liner. Gordon was determined to make Maxine’s longed-for cruise as unpleasant as possible. There were several reasons for this: Maxine had been planning this cruise for a year and Gordon was sick of her going on and on about it. Also Gordon was worried, if the cruise was a success, that she’d want to waste even more of their hard-earned savings year after year on further cruises.
They had been befriended by a Mr. and Mrs. Calvin and Gail Harlick of Cabin 1763. He was a buffoon if ever there was one, although Gail was quite nice. Actually a little more than quite nice, Gordon thought. But Calvin went on and on about nothing. He would monopolize the conversation at dinner and it would inevitably be about himself. The only saving grace at dinner was that Gail sitting opposite would affectionately rub the calf of Gordon’s leg with the toe of her high heels. It was their little joke.
Maxine and Gordon were always invited back to Cabin 1763 for a little drink after the meal, but so far they hadn’t accept the invitation. And then a storm hit. It was so rough that the passengers were confined to their quarters for a brief time. Gordon insisted he and Maxine go up onto the deck. “This storm is the only exciting thing to have happened thus far on the trip.”
That was when Maxine gave Gordon a push over the side, saying “Go join Gail Harlick.”
Steadying herself against the railing, Maxine made her way to Cabin 1763.
The ship sets sail! Of course, it didn’t have sails; it was a modern ship, but the expression from sailing days remained.
Curtis and Connie waved farewell to their daughter, Isabella. She had a terrible fear of flying and had won a huge scholarship to study overseas at a prestigious university. You’ve no idea how difficult it is these days to book a cabin on a ship that’s not simply a cruise liner.
And so they hugged and Isabella walked up the gangway, waving goodbye and blowing kisses. It was sad, but so exciting! The start of a profoundly wonderful adventure!
She would write, but she never came back. They never saw her again.