Ships that pass in the night

She looks at her watch for the umpteenth time and checks her phone for messages. She glances out the window of the cafe. Nothing. The coffee in her cup is cold. She takes one last sip, it is bitter. Tired of waiting she leaves.

One block away a figure in a long coat, head down against the cold wind, hurries along.

Two friends miss each other by minutes. Each goes on like a ship upon a vast ocean. Missed calls and appointments unkept, text messages that go unanswered, we are all ships in the night.

AH, how short are the days! How soon the night overtakes us!

Ships that pass in the night and speak each other in passing;
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice; then darkness again and a silence.

Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn, Part Third, The Theologian’s Tale

sunset before the night
sunset before the night

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