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Dover Anthem

Before moving away from the small coastal village where I spent my childhood and former years I knew a mysterious girl named Dover Anthem

She was considered odd by many as she could often be found combing the beach for the lost treasure of pirates or swimming alone in the sea

For some reason she and I grew close and we spent a great of time together exploring the white cliffs and searching for spent ordnance at the abandoned rifle range

When the months were hot we would spent hours swimming in the sea

Our close friendship (we were never lovers) ended when I moved to London to seek my fortune

I asked her to come with me but she could not be persuaded to leave the village

When I visited my parents I always found time to swim with Dover Anthem but our relationship had changed

It was more distant

As I became more successful my visits became less frequent and soon our sparse correspondence faded altogether

My parents aged and became frail so they moved inland and I did not visit my village for over twenty years and when I did so it was to purchase a grand house with extensive views of the sea

But things had changed

The village had grown bigger and was busier

I tried to capture my former years

But Dover Anthem was nowhere to be found

I made extensive enquiries but each answer was vacant

Nobody had any memories of my dear friend

Only a fisherman out of Deal vaguely remembered her swimming in the sea and collecting stones from the beach

But his memory was fading

He supposed that she might have drowned (for she swam each day) or had fallen from the white cliffs

But I found no trace of any tragic events in the parish records

There was an entry about a channel swimmer fair of complexion who was found on the beach one morning greased up and preparing to swim to France

But the church papers did not record whether she reached her destination or not

On even if she ever returned

As the years passed I could be quite often be found fishing from the crumbling sea wall

I would search the waves for my former friend and would occasionally see her swimming near the great white cliffs

But she would not come close to my station

We would wave but never speak

For our friendship was by now quite silent