The Tide Knot

Free The Tide Knot by Helen Dunmore

Book: The Tide Knot by Helen Dunmore Read Free Book Online
Authors: Helen Dunmore
Tags: Ages 10 and up
lot of me, Sapphire.” Her voice has grown harsher. Her tone changes. She is no longer an old woman, and I’m no longer a child. I stare into her eyes. People’s eyes don’t change.
      But everything else is changing. As I watch, the wrinkled brown skin around Granny Carne’s eyes grows smooth and soft. Color steals into her gray hair, which breaks loose from its knot and ripples lustrously over her shoulders. Long, dark brown hair, the color of the darkest earth and with red lights in it like fire. Her lips are red and full . Her body grows straight and slender as a young birch tree.
      “Granny Carne,” I whisper. But there’s no Granny Carne in the room. The young woman’s lips part in a smile, and then she lays a finger on her lips to silence me. This is Earth magic, and it’s too potent for me. I shut my eyes. When I open them again, the woman like a birch tree has disappeared, and Granny Carne is standing there.
      “Where’s she gone?”
      “There’s been no one in this room but our two selves, Sapphire. All I’m showing you is that time isn’t what you think it is.”
      “But how can you be old and young at the same time?” Granny Carne smiles. “Ask anyone with gray hair. Ask Mrs. Eagle if she feels any different inside from how she felt when she was eighteen. There’s little difference.”
      “Do you know Mrs. Eagle?”
      “I’ve known Temperance Eagle from a girl. Temperance Pascoe, as she was then. Wild, she was, goes on Granny Carne thoughtfully. “Her father used to scour St. Pirans for her on a Saturday night, shouting that he’d take his belt to her when he found her. He was a strong Bible Christian.” But I’m not going to be diverted by tales of Mrs. Eagle’s youth. Mrs. Eagle is most definitely one hundred percent old now. Granny Carne’s old too, yet she changed before my eyes into a woman like a young birch tree. I know that I didn’t imagine it. What Granny Carne did is something completely different from an old person feeling young inside.
      “Mrs. Eagle can’t do what you did,” I say as firmly as I dare, “and no one else talks about time the way you do, as if they can go back hundreds of years and see what was happening then.”  
      But suddenly I remember. Someone does. Faro talks about time in the same way as Granny Carne, as if history is still happening. As if he’d watched the Ballantine smash onto the rocks with his own eyes. And he made me watch it too when I saw into his mind.
      Granny Carne sighs. She looks very old now. “You ask a lot of questions, Sapphire. They’re hard questions too, and I can’t give you all the answers you want. Let me tell  you this much. What you saw just now not many would see.”
      “Why did you let me see it?”
      “It wasn’t me letting you. It was you that had the power to see the old and young standing in the same place. You think all your power lies in Ingo, Sapphire, but that’s because you choose to make it so.”
     “But you said I had strong Mer blood, Granny Carne. You told me and Conor that last summer.”
      “Yes, but there’s more to it than that. Your Mer blood may be strong, but your Earth blood is powerful too. Not as strong as your brother’s, but strong enough.”
      “Is having Earth blood the same as living in the Air—being human, I mean?”
      “No. Most people live out their human lives without choosing either Earth or Ingo. They don’t need to. They’re happy as they are. They live in the present time and in one place. As far as they’re concerned, the past is rolled up like a carpet, and no one can touch it. And the future too.
      Perhaps they are the fortunate ones,” adds Granny Carne.  
      “I don’t see what’s fortunate about not being able to go to Ingo.”
      “Ask your brother.”
      Conor’s words echo in my head: I’ve got to try to belong where I am. Conor really wants to be part of St. Pirans—surfing, playing guitar, hanging out with

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