He meets us on the cliff, the November wind whipping his dark hair into a nimbus around his sharpened cheeks. In this moment, he is more beautiful than the stars, than the sea.
Corr trails behind, hind leg dragging. I cannot believe he returned.
But, at the same time, I can. Just like I can believe that Peg Gratton is both a mother, and a woman who can cut a man's heart out neat. Or that Gabe is a person who doesn't cry, until he does.
Nothing is impossible on Thisby anymore. Except maybe a local store selling white shoes like George Holly is wearing. I don't think I'll live to see the day.
Sean reaches me and a moment suspends like a century between us. The world feels still. The ocean's shhhhh, shhhhh is silent. Even Corr is frozen.
I close my eyes and, when I open them, Sean is folding me into his arms like origami, and his jacket feels strangely yet comfortingly familiar beneath my touch. His hands are firm and neat against my back, my hair, my cheek, like a river over stones. He catches my gaze and leans in, not letting me tear my eyes away.
Holly looks away, suddenly busy with the sky.
And then Sean is kissing me and it is sweeter than a November cake, saltier than the sea, stronger than the solid ground beneath our feet.
My mother once told me that there are moments in our lives which seem to last forever, and that these are the moments we keep with us until the day we die, the ones that are buried with us and the ones that are remembered long after we are swallowed by the sea. I never really understood it, for I must have been barely a child, but I think now I do.
And I also think that no matter what Dory Maud or anyone else says, maybe standing with one foot on the land and one foot in the sea isn't so bad after all.