He said many things. Things that sounded good to my ears, better than the gulls and the crashing of waves. I followed him up the sand, up the grass, up the gravel path, up the smooth black road to his mother's house. She was not a beautiful lady, not like the mothers I had known, the ones that birthed us and then left us to fend for ourselves. My mother had been sleek and strong, and this woman was was so soft; at first I could't stand to look at her. But she had this room. It was a treasure cave too, filled with land plants, with bright flowers so delicate they would not have survived underwater. Sometimes, when he and his mother were still sleeping, I would wrap my cloak around my shoulders and sneak into the plant room, and try to speak to them. I would press my eyelids against the flowers and try to coax them to open their mouths to me but they stayed silent.
One morning, I was in there before the sun had even come up over the sea. I did not hear her footsteps, I was straining so hard to hear the hushed whispers of the plants.
"Would you like a cup of tea?" she'd asked. She was holding two large mugs and her eyes smiled out at me from her cliff face.
She told me stories, of her life. She told me of wars. Of her job as a botanist, and then a forensic biologist. Of her husband, whom she had left because he loved his boat more than her, and she loved her plants more than him, and that when he left their house she had transformed his study into this room. As I listened to her, I learned that she was sleek and strong on the inside. I came to love her, too.