As there's been no-one telling me to immediately stop writing, I've uploaded the next part of the story for you.
Grey rolling waves raced towards Hellevoetsluis harbour, making the mallards bob up and down like ever so many corks. Isa held on to her new felt hat with one hand.
“Whose silly idea was it to go to the harbour?”, she muttered to herself, knowing perfectly well that it had been her own idea, born from the boredom of a lonely Autumn Sunday afternoon. She turned her back on the water and squinted up at the round white lighthouse with its jaunty red roof. The wind immediately saw its chance and spun her hat straight into the choppy harbour waves.
“Shit! Shit, shit, shit!“
Dismayed, she tried to work out where, if anywhere, her hat would float near enough to the harbour wall for her to reach. More mallards making their way to the jetty below the lighthouse gave her an idea. Perhaps she could borrow a boat? Many of the yachts in the harbour had their private dinghies. Isa hurried to the nearest vessel, a beautiful wooden Waarschip.
“Hello! Anyone on board?” She hesitated before the gangway. Should she board? “Hi! Can you hear me?”
Silence. Then a gull screeched like a banshee, taunting her.
Isa decided to try once more.
“Helloooooo! I need your help!”
“There is no one on that ship”, said a voice behind her, making her jump.
Isa looked over her shoulder, flustered, until she saw that the owner of the voice was a young man. More of an older boy than a young man, really. In his hand he was holding a sketchpad, and he looked just as flustered as Isa was feeling.
“Oh! Hi there. I was hoping…I need…,” she stopped. “Oh, what’s the point? My hat’s long gone by now. It blew into the harbour, you know. My new hat. I‘ve only had it since yesterday. I…”
Again Isa ground to a halt. Something in the boy’s reaction, or rather lack of any reaction, made her lose the thread of her thoughts. He was staring at his pad, with a small annoyed frown.
“Oh well. Don’t let me keep you from your drawing. Bye.”
She turned away from him, ready to walk back to the little square on the other side of the harbour. Her bright idea, that a brisk walk along the waterfront would blow the cobwebs away, had utterly vanished from her mind.
“Another fun day,” she muttered darkly.
“It has sunk,” said the boy.
“What?” Isa turned back.
“Your hat. It’s sunk.”
So he had heard her after all.
“Story of my life!” Isa snorted. “My gorgeous new, not to mention very expensive, hat has drowned. I may as well go and drown my sorrows then, don’t you think?”
Again she turned away from him, but something made her hesitate and toss him a quick look.
“You look cold. Would you like to join me?”
“Join you where?”
“You know! Join me for a drink.” She nodded in the direction of the pubs on the square across the water.
“We could go to De Admiraal.”
Once more it seemed as if the boy hadn’t heard her.
Isa shrugged and started walking to the bridge. Behind her she heard the boy fall in with her rhythm. What an odd boy, she thought. They marched quickly over the cast iron bridge, buffeted by the strong westerly wind, which whistled through the green railings.
The cobbled square was deserted. Only the statue of Napoleon’s architect Jan Blanken, ledger open on his bronze knees, looked out over the yachts that were moored in the Haaven. Isa peered into the window of De Admiraal. At the back of the restaurant she saw the gas fire lit. Good!
“Come on then, if you’re coming,” she said.
Without waiting for an answer, she stepped over the threshold. She wasn’t quite a regular, but she had been to De Admiraal a couple of times, and liked the quiet modern interior. She tossed her coat onto the coat stand and chose a table near the gas fire. She saw the boy still standing at the door, an unhappy look on his face.