by MICHELLE ELVY
Up the Henderson Creek you may find an orchard of apples and plums. They are ripe and ready to pick, and there are storerooms for their sweetening.
Up the creek you may find a brick archway, carefully constructed of Auckland bricks as the entrance to the storerooms. You will see how this arch presides over a swimming hole, where echoes of Henderson youth still ring out.
Up the creek you may venture into the storeroom where apples once filled the space in and sacks. You may find another room, dry and cool, and here you may elect to sit down and read a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica, too.
And also up the creek you may find the Awatea, sitting old and tired in the mud – a ship designed for glorious sailing and then secreted away.
You may ask this ship why she sits and waits. She will tell you she is patient, and does not mind the wait. She knows that her rig was built strong and her cabintop sturdy. She knows her knees and ribs hold on with time. She awaits the man who will come and first free her, and then another, and another – all of whom will strip her rusting rigging and rebuild her rotten cabintop and tear off the copper sheathing on her hull to restore the still strong kauri underneath. She has never complained – indeed, she fared well up the creek.
But up the creek you won’t find the white-haired man any more. He’s gone to another place altogether. A place where no one makes him wear shoes.
MICHELLE ELVY is a writer, editor and manuscript assessor. She edits at Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction and Blue Five Notebook. She is also Assistant Editor for Best Small Fictions. She has published poetry, fiction, travel writing, creative nonfiction and reviews in numerous print and online journals and anthologies. Based in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, Michelle can be found in 2016 sailing on her 43’ sailboat, Momo, in East Africa. michelleelvy.com.