Foto bij 04.

Note to self: women in this part of the country are mean.
Okay, maybe only the beautiful girl I tried talking to was mean, but she had ensured that I will not talk to a girl here again.
She threatened me - something a girl has never done before. She must be important, or at least think she is.
I would love to be important, but I simply am not. I'm a poor man's child, a burden to my parents, and now a simple sailor. Nothing to write home about.
I watch her disappear into the crowd as I make my way back to the ship. We leave again at the end of the next week, to a country I have never heard of before. This job has barely brought me anything, but it at least will take me across the world. If I make it that far, that is. I have seen several men die in the short while I've been a sailor. The first time it was hard to watch, but after the fourth man, it simply does not faze you that much anymore.

"Storm!" I smile and wave in an exaggerated manner as I see one of my fellow sailors wave at me. "Did you bring them?"
I show him the lemons my two golden coins got me - five, to be exact. "I sure did, my good friend."
He slides down the wooden pole and comes walking toward me. "How was the market?"
"Good. Crowded. I saw a beautiful girl, but -" "Let me guess, she turned you down. Of course she did, my Storm. We are simply no match to most women. They would not be able to handle this."
I laugh at his comment and shrug. "I bet that is in fact why she wanted nothing to do with me. Must be intimidated by my gorgeous physique and amazing perfume."
"Any woman would be so lucky to have us, Storm."
      Night falls and I cannot stop thinking about the girl from the market.
Back home, girls were.. pretty. They looked nice, and some of them drove me crazy. But I have never seen a girl like her before, and that makes me want to have her.
She looked so pure, so innocent, yet so wise and fierce. It made me want to destroy all of her innocence while learning from her passion. If only she had been friendly. But we all know women like her do not act friendly towards men like me. Men of the ocean, poor bastards like me.
Something hits my head as I stare at the stars. And again. And again. After picking it up, I realise it's a lemon peel.
"What?" I mumble, realising someone wants my attention.
"Do you think we will ever get off of this ship?"
I recognise his voice immediately. It's the youngest sailor we have, whom we have nicknamed Nine because he lost a finger before coming to work here.
"Yes," I mumble, putting a piece of the peel in my mouth and chewing on it. "Once we are dead, they will throw our bodies overboard."
"That's not what I mean, Storm."
"I don't think so, my boy. Unless we get very lucky, we will work until our dying breath."

The next morning we are awoken early by the sun. I haven't had the best sleep, the girl with the mesmerising hair kept on appearing in my dreams.
"Sleep well?" one of my mates immediately asks as I open my eyes.
"No. And seeing your face first thing as I wake up didn't make it better." He pretends to throw a punch at me as I get up.
"This girl I met yesterday keeps on haunting me in my dreams."
The man laughs. "Was she that hideous?"
I shake my head as I wipe the sleep out of my eyes. "The exact opposite. She was... breath taking."
As I start talking about a girl, more of the men gather around us. They are all desperate to hear about women, and every story is welcome. Even if it is a disastrous one.
"She was just.. I don't know, beautiful. She had this amazing, flaming red hair, and -"
"Red hair?" One of the oldest men on the ship asks me, some kind of surprise in his voice. "You mean you saw Clifton Reeve's daughter out in the open?"
"Whose daughter?"
Someone throws another lemon peel at my head. "One of the most well-known business men in all of Hastings. His daughter is... well, there are a lot of stories about her. You saw her?"
"I saw a girl with red hair. If she is the only girl with red hair in this town, then I must have seen her, yes."

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