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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 10 page 08

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A few weeks later, back in Supetar now, Joy again spotted the man called Richard. He was sitting down to have coffee at a café across from where Joy was sitting. He looked around as if expecting someone. His blue eyes landed on Joy for a second but then continued to scan the crowd. Joy knew he wouldn’t recognize her from the boat. A young woman with long, curly black hair stepped up from behind to greet him. Joy wondered if this was his daughter, then watched as the girl wrapped her arms around Richard and pulled his face towards hers for a very passionate kiss. So, not a daughter. The girl must have been half his age but a guy as tall and ruggedly good-looking as Richard would be able to attract women of all ages. It’s not going to last buddy, Joy telepathically told him.

While waiting for her lunch, Joy sipped some excellent grasevina, white, cold and crisp, her new favourite local wine. Someone had left a newspaper on the seat next to her. Joy scanned it quickly without really understanding much. Her eyes locked on to a picture of the woman from the ferry. She called over Andrej, her waiter.

“I recognize this woman, Andrej. Can you tell me what it says?”

The waiter read the story and translated. “Yes, this lady in picture is missing. Her family in Britain want to find her. She was here in Croatia but then someone says they see her in Rome. So they look in Italy now.” Then he asked, “You know her?”

“Not really, just saw her once on the ferry. Maybe she is just hiding from someone?” Joy glanced across the way to spot Richard and the young woman walking off hand in hand.

The waiter brought lunch and Joy smiled at the plate of grilled squid. “Looks wonderful! Thanks, Andrej. I mean, hvala.”

“Did you hear about old Mr. Nico?”

“Yes, I saw the notice a few weeks ago.” Very sad, thought Joy.

“He lived good long life,” said Andrej.

Živjeli” said Joy, “To life!” She was perfectly content, what with good food and wine, and a perfect summer day. She raised her glass to toast her good fortune, but at that very moment a shiver ran through her body.

On the other side of the island, a boy fishing on the shoreline saw something bobbing out by the rocks. He approached the object cautiously and then screamed so loud that he scared the seagulls away. It was a body, bloated, half naked, unrecognizable, a soon-to-be Jane Doe. A lot of seaweed and a few plastic bags were wrapped around her body. Her hands were bound with rope but something on her wrist sparkled in the sunlight. There would be no death notice for her, no procession to the cemetery, no tears. Just that shiver of intuition from some random woman enjoying her lunch in the sun that day.