by Andrew Foote
We ran Cathy to the bus stop the following morning. There had been no news regarding her father or other members of his crew, but she had plucked up the courage to open his post but it revealed nothing of any consequence.
"If they let me on board Marion S then I'll look for receipts and weigh bills. He was always good at filing those, his accountant insisted on it, but then I can check the holds and have a general nose around. Dad was meticulous, a place for everything and everything in its place so I might pick up on something the investigators missed."
"He's a professional – it goes with the territory. Call me please Cath? If there's anything we can do from this end, sing out and we'll be on it."
The remainder of the day dragged. We had all the glasses off the shelf, washed and polished them, likewise all the optics were cleaned, the beer pipes cleaned and flushed, brewery orders, food orders emailed and all the paperwork squared away. It was very tempting to go out for a walk along the cliffs but I couldn't afford to miss a call from Cathy.
I tried unsuccessfully to persuade Aruno to get some fresh air but he refused saying he wouldn't leave without me. I love him more with each passing minute!
Finally, the phone rang.
"Admiral Nelson at Tresgillith?"
"Simeon It's me. I thought I should give you an update."
"Thanks. I wondered when you might call. How are things? How's your Dad and the others?"
"They were all on the receiving end of a bloody good kicking and I'm not sure who got off lighter. Tom is sporting cracked ribs, a busted arm and a fractured cheekbone plus other cuts and bruises. Malcolm is in a similar state with a broken leg. Broken collarbone and three busted fingers and old Mr Matthews is in cardio care as he had a heart attack. He's also got injuries like bruised ribs and a shattered kneecap. Jesus Simeon? Talk about a savage attack? Dad has concussion, hairline fractures to his skull and a stab wound to his neck – the medics reckon he was very lucky as the knife missed his artery by millimetres."
"Oh God. Everyone out of danger?"
"Yes. Tom and Malcolm are being ferried home in the morning but Dad and Mr Matthews will remain as in patients for a while yet."
"Well I guess that answers one question then. That had to be piracy rather than a pre-planned operation. I mean, if that had been the case, a little light bruising to make it look like something nasty had happened, but you wouldn't go allowing people to do things like that."
"No, and neither do the authorities but had there been any doubt, I have the keys for Marion S and guess what I found?
In the safe was a bundle of money but this tallies with payment for a catch they landed at Helston. Receipts for fuel and effluent emptying at St Just and in the hold? Well let's just say they had one hell of a week!"
"Ten days but anyhow, I'm pleased.
On a slightly more practical note? What's the damage to the Marion?"
"None whatsoever. Someone opened the seacock, not fully, but enough to make it look as if she was floundering. The inspectors have been over her with a magnifying glass and she's been passed as seaworthy."
"At last! A bit of good news! I have so many fond memories of us going out on her when we were kids and to think she might have sunk or now, given up for scrap? Sorry Cath but I could get very emotional."
"She lives to sail many more seas yet, so keep it together cos I need yet another favour from you."
"Keeping her here now the investigation is all but over? It's costing a bloody fortune so I want to get her back to Tresgillith."
"We could do that, not right now but next week? We could make it to Torquay by Sunday night, off-load the catch and then run back in convoy sometime Monday or Tuesday."
"But three of us and two boats? Not doable Simeon. We'd need an extra body and one who's capable."
"I know just the very person but whether he meets with your approval or not?"
"Okay. School finishes for the summer this Thursday yes?
How big a bust-up did you and Rob have when you split?"
"We didn't fight. He was okay about it. It was me who took it badly even though I was the one who ended it. He was acting like a prick and it annoyed me."
"So being in his company wouldn't be too much of a hardship?"
"I guess not. Where is this going?"
"Rob is good around boats. He knows his stuff, he's a fully qualified skipper, I trust him, so what if he came with us? One or other of you skipper Marion S, and Aruno crews for me and we're in business."
"Yeah. Now I remember, he is very competent and if he's up for the ride, call me and I'll clear it with Dad. Thanks Simeon. I love you SO much…… like a brother you understand!!"
"I mean yeah…… in principle, but what about Cathy? I was acting the total dickhead the night she told me to take a hike so how does she feel about it?"
"Comfortable enough. I get the feeling she still likes you even though you were playing the idiot."
"I like her too. I meant to call and apologise but I couldn't find the courage. I was just showing off to my friends and it got out of hand."
"So will you help?"
"I'll be glad to, but there's just one thing? You and me getting to Torquay is fine but three of us to man two boats on the way back?"
"Four of us. Cathy's brother will be with us."
"She has a brother? I never knew!"
"Yeah. He's fourteen. Not that experienced around boats like these but he's a quick learner so we'll be okay. If you can make it to the Nelson for say Sunday around lunch time, then as soon as we're shut we can get away."
"Okay. I'll have to clear it at home but I don't see a problem.
What's the plan? I'll have to have an idea of time to keep my folks from worrying."
"We'll make Torquay sometime late Sunday evening so we can spend Monday morning landing Marion's catch then check her for diesel and water and top up as necessary. We'll might as well get diesel at the same time but I'll get Aruno to do our water before we leave here. That should allow us to get away Monday afternoon, make Penzance that evening and back here Tuesday lunchtime or early afternoon."
"Cool. I'll pack for three nights just in the event we get delayed. Oils, seaboots and work gloves and I'm good to go."
"Thanks. Give me a call once you've got everything together and we'll come over and collect it. Aruno can take it over to Conqueror when he goes over to water up."
"Sure thing. You seem to set a lot of store by this kid? Weird name too!"
"Long story. He's bright, you'll like him."
What I really wanted to say was 'he's fantastic and I love him' but perhaps not the wisest move. I suppose it'll all come out at some point but not now.
I have this theory – a theory concerning sex and that is, that the best time to learn about it is just as soon as your body starts to react and your mind begins to take an interest in the subject. At that point, I think all kids should be enrolled into sex school, not so much to have them practicing the mechanics of the thing but more, to teach them how to approach it without being nervous or frightened. To instil in them the understanding that rather than giggling about it self-consciously, they should embrace it, as what is arguably God's finest gift to mankind, and whether that's recreationally or within the context of a loving relationship isn't a part of my theory.
Nice people see me as being mature for my age, the not-so-nice as being old before my time; it all boils down to the same thing really but the thing is, that phase passed me by.
I sailed through puberty and yes it confused me, I found it pleasurably annoying but having sex or rather the thought of it never entered my head. I understood enough to know how to go about it and I'll admit, there were odd occasions where I imagined Doing It, but how to go about the preliminaries like asking someone out, dating and the like? Not a clue. When is the right time to say "We know each pretty well now so shall we?" or doesn't it work like that?
This is where Sex School could come in very handy.
The thing is, I have these feelings now. I should've been sent to Sex School when I was eleven or twelve so I would know how to deal with them but I don't.
I do know that I want Aruno, but I want him in a way that will show him I'm in for the duration and not for some recreational thrill.
I know that he wants me. He's sending out signals like semaphore on acid, but I don't know how to acknowledge them.
I've asked myself so many questions these last couple of weeks to the point where I'm losing the will to live. I need answers, not more questions?
I think we're getting better at this.
Today (Monday), Aruno took himself off to Conqueror to do the water and do a spot of housework as we'd not done much since collecting him from Penzance.
He reappeared some two hours later complete with all the bed linen, at which point I gave him a crash course in driving the washing machine. He had a swift glass of iced water then went back with clean sheets but before he left, he questioned how many sets he should take.
"Four I suppose although Rob might just bring a sleeping bag."
"Do you not want to be with me Mimi-cu?"
"I want but I don't want you to think that……"
"I take only three then and if Mr Rob brings his sleeping bag, even the third won't be necessary.
He went to walk away, but stopped and looked at me and on this occasion, there were no questions in his eyes, no smiles but a look of determination – a look that was very new to me.
"Please understand. You are my Boy-God and I need to be with you. The only way you can hurt me is by pushing me away, shielding yourself from me so I am no longer a part of your life.
I understand you are concerned but please have the courage to take me as I want and need you to take me …… make love to me my Mimi-cu! Make love to me tonight and forever!"
I was caught completely on the back foot. I just stood there gawping at him, and I desperately tried to compose myself.
"I…… I know, and I want to be all you perceive me to be but Aruno…… I don't know how?"
He furrowed his brow as if attempting to digest what I'd said, but then his face relaxed and I saw a slight smile cross his lips.
"My Mimi-cu is pure? Mimi-cu has never loved before?"
"Never. Not even in my head or…… physically. Your Mimi-cu is a virgin." And then I burst into tears.
"I'm a disappointment to you. You expected to see someone wise and experienced in all things, but I'm ignorant when it comes to matters of the heart and I'm sorry."
He set the bedding down on the counter, walked over to where I was busy falling apart, took my hand, led me to a table and had me sit down.
"Mimi-cu? There are many things you don't understand, so please be patient and I will try and explain.
In my village and many others like mine, we are expected to remain untouched until we are accepted as adults, and that happened to me just before we had to come to England.
At that time, we are free to choose, free to decide what we want and what we need, but you may only choose a Mimi-cu or Moni-cu if they too are untouched.
Sometimes the choice is a bad one and the understanding has to finish, but then you become a touched one and are free to take a partner, but only one who had also been touched.
Mother told me that people in countries like England see us as savages, they see us as having no morals, bad conduct and without a sense of what is right or wrong, but we have rules, very strict rules by which to live. To break those rules can have you expelled from the village, and if the problem is really bad, like rape, execution can happen.
I am allowed to select from outside our village as I am not a direct descendant, and if you were a touched one from outside our culture, you could be accepted but you tell me you are not, so we are free to bond.
You are acceptable to my elders as my Mimi-cu until such time as you reject me, and also…… you would be welcomed as an honoured outsider so long as you adopted our way of life."
"Oh God Aruno? I want nothing more than to have your love, and I too am honoured that you want me but…… we have laws, rules like those in your culture that make our, umm…… bonding illegal, and not that I would be executed, but I would be imprisoned, my family's reputation torn to pieces, and even once I gained my freedom, I would be unable to travel with you whether your elders accepted me or not."
"I know. Catherine has told me this so we say nothing until you are able. If I have your love and we bond, then no one need know.
You must live by the rules of your culture and I accept that, but just knowing that you accept me, and will allow yourself to be my Boy-God is enough."
"I'm no Boy-God. I'm as weak as the next man, but if you want me? I'm yours for the taking."
"Then we will live to love and love to live, my Mimi-cu."
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