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Each day after work, Maria roamed the beach before trekking up the big hill to her parent’s cottage. Wind, silence, waves, far-sea – it was all beautiful. She wanted the conflict to bless her, not leave its mark without its benefit. “Why are you being so dramatic?” asked Amira whose voice had no static here on the beach.

“I don’t have many friends,” said Maria. “The ones I do have are important to me.” Her few friends were carefully chosen, although, not exactly chosen by her. She faltered as if searching for that point in the centre of a problem from which all the pain radiates. We have to be brave enough to pull the simple, biting answer from the depths of our murky consciousness. Maria saw a spurt of water in the ocean and knew a mother whale and her calf were out there. During winter and early spring, Waldmeer became a calving ground. Like other herd mammals, pregnant whales, often, isolate themselves and go to a safe place to give birth. The high swells, surrounding cliffs, and deep waters provided an environment which protected them from predators. “If he feels pressured by other people,” continued Maria, “he will retreat into doing whatever seems least stressful and confrontational.” Maria looked out to the mother who was now playing with her calf; breaching and catching the sunlight on her massive wet body.

“You are being too harsh,” said Amira after a while. “You have been on the path a long time. You cannot expect Gabriel to know everything you know. It is only when we are far enough along to realise the sorry state that most people are in that we lose our concern with what other people think.” The whales were quiet now. The sea was still as the gentle glow of dusk began pulling itself over the settling giant. “It takes courage to tread one’s own course,” said Amira, “but only at the beginning of each new stage. We hope that we are safe but we are not yet sure. Go back to Eraldus now. There is nothing to be angry about and nothing to fear.”

Eraldus means the dividing line. Maria had, sometimes, wondered what it was the dividing line between. She would soon find out.

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