Matthew breathed deeply. It was always a rush to leave the office, near Victoria's centre, to beat the worst of the rush hour crawl into the suburbs, and to make it to the ferry terminal in time. At night, after a late meeting, it was critical...the last sailing left at 9:05. He didn't go up to the passenger deck this time, not feeling like meeting anyone he knew on-Island...sometimes he needed this space of travelling time to come down to himself, to let the city fall from him...he wanted to be calm, not irritable or jumbled in his thoughts, when he met Kate.
The commute was not the best thing, but they had agreed to try it...it hadn't been possible for both of them to quit their city jobs...the mortgage would have been impossible to swing without his city salary. He loved the house they had found, with Li Read's help...five acres, a barn, a timber-peg cottage with a pond just beyond the deck...and Li had helped them to find financing to swing it...it had taken five months, but finally they had lucked out, and found exactly what they wanted, and for a price they could afford to pay...Li had just kept in touch with them, and kept looking out for a property to suit their wish list.
The lights of the ferry dock at Fulford, the coffee shop beyond it still open, came into view as the ferry left the main channel and began its run down Fulford Harbour. Matthew loved this arrival at Salt Spring's "south end", and the drive up the Fulford Valley towards Ganges Village. No matter what kind of a day he'd had, or what kind of a mood he was in, the peace of the Island settled onto him, soothing and whispering him into contentment...Matthew loved the Island, loved it as much as Kate...Kate...he smiled at the thought of her; he wondered if she had finished laying out the perimeter of the garden. She had figured out, with lots of chewing at the end of a pencil, how to save even more money...they would grow all their own food, and she would learn to can the produce for next winter. Never mind that she had never gardened before...she would learn...he followed the sparse line of cars off the ferry and up the winding hill out of Fulford Village.
Kate was crazy, but
he adored her...even if she never grew a thing, he would adore her...what
he really loved, though, was her enthusiasm...her latest plan was to sell
her still ungrown vegetables at the Saturday morning market...Kate was full
of plans. He smiled again, tapping his hand on the steering wheel in time
to the jazz riff playing on the Seattle jazz radio station, and turned off
the main road, climbing away from the sea to the mountain valley they now
called home. Kate had set a candle in the window to welcome him back...his
heart lightened...Kate was right. Salt Spring was a magical place....