Elizabeth Golden was a petite of woman with a heart-shaped haw, honey blonde hair and the bright, inquisitive eyes and steady grace of black and white film star. She was slowly fanning herself with a straw hat as she looked around at the narrow benches packed full with the mildly sunburned and the severely exhausted, with a wry smile. What a curious thing to be alone on a ferry full of couples and families. Stretching out her legs and admiring her rather masculine sandals, Elizabeth felt liberated by the crowd around her. Each group was too distracted by their own dealings to even see her.
The ferry hit a particularly unpleasant wave and everyone was sent listing to the right. Elizabeth noticed a young couple use the opportunity to move closer together. A middle-aged, mousy haired lady clung to the baby on her lap, her parlour ringing noticeably green and sallow.
Elizabeth turned her head in near-feline attentiveness to look at a man in dark chinos and open necked, well tailored, white shirt. He held a young girl of about eight by the hand. The girl was as thin as fine china, her long dark hair in well-ordered curls – not easily achieved in the heat and humidity. She wore a dress of pale green cotton, obviously expensive with its fine embroidered detail. The little doll stood out exquisitely amongst the poorly shod little things that sat around Elizabeth. The little girl was trying to pull her hapless father into the ladies room, utilising the most imploring hazel eyes that Elizabeth had ever seen.
“Darling, I can’t go in there…”
An American was unusual in these parts.
“What about if I go and fetch Nanny?”
The girls brow puckered, the little mouth almost entirely hidden as she bit back her frustrated, childs tears.