Olenus waited as patient as time.
Up and down the November beach was barren save for the stacks of mossy rocks. They weren’t much in the way of company – not even he could offer that, either – so he waited for the return of the women with those men already here, in sentinel silence.
Would she ever return? Had she even loved him?
The waves, an impassive, relentless chumble as loud as his insecurities, didn’t answer.
Scuds of blown spume tumbled across the dirty shoreline, reminding Olenus of when all this started; that gristly lump which had popped out between his third and forth rib, then another from his armpit, the pores stretching like stoma to birth them. The pain became insensate to the point when, by the second week, he was waking up with a bed full of egg-like deposits made of fat and sinew.
Distill the human body down into the right compounds and it’s remarkable what you can assemble – or rather what’s left behind.
As he waited with the other heartbroken husbands, he considered death might be a good thing for those whose love had inflicted The Concretion upon them. If he were religious he’d wonder if this was justice; but a hopeful inner voice reminded him every saint has a past, every sinner a future. So wet, cold and igneous, he abided.
Still no sight of smokestacks on the horizon, no dawdling sloops or returning clippers – hell, even a black sail would be welcome.
Time slowed; he might be middle aged but it’d be better to measure his age by half-life, instead.
How many others suffered The Concretion as they waited for the return of their sweethearts?
He sighed at the mass of cairns.
Not even the cemetery of Egypt and all its chimera could match this.