I Carry Your Heart ~ Chapter 2

~ The Lonely Shore

Two thin pages were folded together – a poem and a note, veiled and intricate.


There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar;
I love not man the less, but Nature more
From these our interviews; in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.1

Catherine, I feel your concern. There is a place I sometimes go,
deep beneath the tunnels. Soon I will return, and then we will talk.



She slumped against the chair, remembered to breathe, wondering, as she had so often in the past, how best to comfort him, how to move through the labyrinthine chasm between them. Absorbed in this thinking, moments passed, and in them she recognized that she could only wait … wait for Vincent’s return.

Another rude jangling … and this time it was her telephone. Even behind her door, the ring was loud, accusing her with its unrelenting shrill.

You Are Late, Cathy!

And then she heard the voice on her answering machine – Joe’s – saying just that. She commanded her feet to carry her to the elevator and willed her forefinger to press for the car. And when the doors opened, she stepped in and rode down and when the doors opened again, she strode out with determination, with fortitude, into a crisp, clear morning.


While navigating the hallways at work, Catherine prepared an answer to Joe’s sure irritation. She dropped her briefcase on the floor, her purse on the desk, and plopped into her chair. Waited. I’m good at waiting. Soon enough, she heard Joe barreling through the office.

Cathy! Cathy, where have you been? Do you know what time it is? Do you have any memory of where you were supposed to be this morning?”

Umm, here?” Her smile was rewarded with a deepening glare from her boss. “Joe, I’m sorry. Really. I tried. I did! This morning was just ... ”

“Well, you got lucky, Radcliffe. Remember Lydia, our new first-year? The one who’s so ambitious, umm, I mean, energetic?”

“The one who thinks you’re charming?” She stabbed a pencil into her sharpener, wincing at the high-pitched squeal.

“Yeah.” Joe harrumphed and blushed. “That one. Well, she took the Benson statement and did a fine job of it. She was quite pleased to fill in for you and now she wants to know if she can run with it, since you seem, as she put it ... overwhelmed”

“It’s a fairly simple case. I’m sure she can handle it. I’ll look it over, make sure she’s on top of things.”

“You do that.” Perched on the corner of her desk, Joe folded his arms and furrowed his brow. “Cathy, you don’t look so good. Is there something you want to talk about?”

“No, I’m okay. I am,” she said, not meeting his eyes, straightening a towering stack of files. “I just had one of those mornings after one of those nights.”

“Are you up to talking to Flynn O’Carroll? The press is all over this one.”

“I’m ready. I just need a minute to get organized. I have some time, don’t I? It's not until after lunch.”

“Are you really taking a lunch?” Joe groaned, but he drummed his fingers on her desk and smiled at her.


Work demanded her attention, yet often, during what was left of the morning, Catherine’s thoughts wandered Below to Vincent’s chamber, to her balcony lonely and wanting these past days, to uncharted passageways deep below the tunnels where the worst might happen. She worried over Vincent’s words – his suggestion that they talk – and she could not shake a deep fear that in his melancholy of late, he would make a firm step away. Not steps back, which she knew to wait out, which she herself had briefly made, but steps to separate from her. Swiveled toward the window, staring into the skyline, she was adrift in that worry, unmoored and caught in a dark, swelling current.

“Cathy … Cath! Anybody home?”

“Oh, Jenny! I should have called you.” She looked at her watch. “I can’t believe it’s so late.”

“Don't say it!" Jenny wailed. "You can’t leave for lunch, right?”

“I was a little late getting here this morning,” she said, gesturing at the books open on her desk.

Jenny brought her hand from behind her, bowed low over a large bag. “I know you better than you think. Ta da! Sesame noodles and pea pods. Your favorite!”

She popped up from her chair, held out her arms. “You’ve saved me. Again. Thank you. Thank you for putting up with me.”

“And for waiting for you to tell me what is going on in your life that puts those wrinkles in your forehead?”

“And for not asking right now,” Catherine said, as she pulled up a second chair.


In the staff room, she wrote her name on the boxes. After stowing the leftovers in the refrigerator, she closed the door with authority and leaned against it.

"On pain of death," she promised, shaking her head at Joe's curious expression. Ignoring his frown, Catherine took Jenny's arm and walked with her through the office and to the elevator.

“What’s up for your weekend? Want to drive upstate if it’s nice, maybe do some antique hunting?”

“That sounds good, Jen, but can I let you know later?”

As usual, yes, you can let me know later.” Jenny tried to look stern, but couldn’t hold the frown, reaching out instead for a final hug. The doors opened and with a wave, Jenny turned to leave.

Click Here for Chapter 3


1 George Goron, Lord Byron. A Pleasure in the Pathless Woods. from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. 1818.