Elizabeth Turner looked up from the shirt she was mending when she heard a shout. William was running around, jabbing at the air with a stick. He was fighting an imaginary foe, as always. He was adamant that someday he was going to sail on the Dutchman with his father and, hopefully, grandfather. She smiled at her son. He was her pride and joy - and the image of his father.
Oh, Will. She missed him so much. Nearly eight years had gone by since their day on the beach. Had he fallen in love with someone else? There had to be women prettier than her out on the open seas. She loved Will with all her heart – always had, always would – but she valued his happiness above all else – even her own. If she found out later that he was holding himself back from something he wanted she would never forgive herself.
Oh, Will. She wanted to touch him, to feel his body beside hers. She wanted to kiss him. She wanted to talk about what William had done that day in the evenings. She wanted to be able to reach out in the night after yet another nightmare and feel him in the bed next to her, to have him kiss away her tears and hold her close until she fell asleep again. Sometimes she would pretend that he was beside her as she went to market. She would loop her arm through his, smile at him, reach up as though to touch his face. She could almost smell the scent of leather and salt air that clung to him wherever he went. If people saw her smiling at the empty space beside her and thought that she was crazy, they did not say so.
Oh, Will. She wondered if he thought about her as much as she thought about him. Was that even possible? She wondered what he was doing as she made breakfast for William and herself. She wondered if he was taking care of the souls that Calypso was sending him as she pretended to read in the afternoon. And in the evening, when she would wake up crying, she wondered if he was on watch and thinking about her.
Oh, Will. She wondered if he ever guessed that he had a son. She hoped that somehow, someway, he knew. She had dreamed of having his child for years. She had just never guessed that it would be all by herself. She had thought that he would be by her side as they worked out details for the nursery, that he would be there to hold her hand during labor, that he would slip an am around her shoulders as she sang their baby to sleep. Instead, she had done all of that alone, not even sure where he was.
A tear slid down her cheek and she wiped it away contemptuously. She couldn’t be weak. She had to be strong, for both of her Williams. She shoved the sorrow and pain to the back of her mind, called to William that he was doing fine but he needed to move his feet a little quicker, and kept on mending the shirt, determined to stay strong.
But sometimes she couldn’t. Sometimes, when she watched William playing and knew that he would not meet his father for another three years, or when she woke up screaming and clutched the chest containing his heart closer to hers (she always slept with it in her arms) because the real Will wasn’t there, she broke down and sobbed for hours. She cried for Will, doomed to a life of piracy whether he wanted it or not. She cried for William, who would be fatherless for most of his life. She cried for herself, torn asunder from the one she loved.