Early next morning, Maria was sitting on the bus to Waldmeer staring out the window. The bus was weaving its way around the endless coastal curves. She opened the window slightly, even though the morning air was cold, and breathed in the fresh saltiness as if it was an all-purpose remedy. Mist rose from the ocean in uneven clouds, hit the surrounding green hills, and then settled back to form a blanket of translucent magic which hovered above the water but below the road.
None of the four of them had returned to Waldmeer since their departure six months ago. Charlie, and therefore Gabriel, no longer had a house to return to. Of course, Maria and Mary had family in Waldmeer. Maria’s parents belonged to a long line of Waldmeer dwellers. Mary’s parents owned the local dairy. Along with Mary’s twin brother, Harry, the girls were school peers since children. Both the girls missed Waldmeer deeply and it was for this very reason that neither had been home. They had Waldmeer in their blood. They were born and fed on its invisible energy. Living in the city was a marked contrast. If they returned too soon, they might not get back on the return bus, although, Charlie would have come looking for Mary.
Maria had put a note for Gabriel, Charlie, and Mary on the kitchen table when she left in the dark at 5.00 am. She explained that the children she minded, Marilyn and Bianca, would be away with their parents and Maria’s mother said she could use some help in Waldmeer Corner Store and Cafe.
The rhythmic movement of the bus and the continuous rolling of the sea had a calming effect on Maria as it did on everyone. She didn’t exactly regret what she said to Gabriel. There was a lot of truth in it. Besides, some things need to be said. However, she had been in the spiritual slipstream too long to fool herself that what she said was the real issue. It was not her calling to challenge the gay community. Its problems would not have made her that upset. However, Gabriel’s dismissal of her would have. Anger is a cover for fear.
It was almost 8.00 a.m. and Maria could see her little home town in the distance as the bus rounded the last of the coastal bends. She stepped from the bus as if re-entering a curious and irresistible world and headed to the cafe to start work for the day.