He has flung out of the house in rage again, a tall man striding furiously through the sunset quiet of the streets. His anger marks him in the scant crowds of evening, and our calm-moving people glance at him and move aside, perturbed but respectful. It is the old argument: the white ships, the legendary promise. In his mind the pale sails will crest the horizon on any tomorrow, a thing close and real, as inevitable as cream into butter, as the sprouting of the corn.
The clack of my loom is stilled as I watch his going, troubled. I have grown up on the same tales: the white ships, the travellers more like angels, their wisdom and power. Down the hill, the bronze ship statue gleams between the pale buildings, shaded by trees. I look to the tales for a vision of possibilities, but to him and others like him it is more: a reality, a promise, an inevitability which makes our shared life hollow, no more than marking time. We have lost each other because I betray his faith. He will return through the quiet night streets, to kiss my cheek, and eat, and take up his life, but he will not forgive.
Even if the ships confound me by some day cresting the rim of the world, white sails spread in the sun, who is to say their occupants will be wise rather than bloody? I do not think the white ships will save us. I do not think we need saving. I hope they do not come.