The last few days had passed uneventfully. Martha rested and ate. She spent a few hours sat on deck each morning and evening. The Captain sat with her asking her about her childhood, her work, where she lived and her family. They never mentioned her Da, but she told him about her sister and Ma. He held her when, eventually, she cried mourning the loss of these women.
She asked him about himself but he never shared and she was left frustrated and disappointed. It was as if he had sprung into being a grown man.
Martha was surprised to find she could sit in silence with him and not feel awkward anymore. Which was a good thing she thought, as he rarely spoke.
Today he had said they would arrive at the island and Martha found herself nervous and anxious. She was still in the cabin having woken early, the sun not yet high, and she tried to stay still and quiet not wishing to disturb him.
The Captain was asleep in the hammock by the door. She could hear his steady breathing and found that if she concentrated on it, matched her breath to his, she relaxed a little. She heard a faint scratching noise and wondered if it was a rat, she held her breath listening. The scratching repeated, followed by a small squeak. Martha had never heard such a noise from a rat or mouse.
“You’ve spoiled that cat,” the Captain’s voice sounded very loud in the silence, even though in truth he whispered. “Let him in before he wakes the whole ship.”
Martha shuffled to the bottom of the bed and unlatched the door. The cat was there. Sat expectantly. Waiting. As the door opened, he got up and squeaked some more, walking softly into the room before jumping lightly onto the bed. As Martha shut the door, he nudged her arms and hands with his head, demanding her attention. She settled herself once again with her head on the pillow and began stroking the cat that had curled up next to her. It wasn’t long before the purrs emitting from this small creature were loud enough to hear across the room. Feeling relaxed and calm with this little friend next to her Martha drifted back to sleep.