I hadn’t planned on walking this route, but my feet betrayed me and before I realised it, I was there again. The house looked the same, only a little neglected. The windows could do with a good wash, I thought, and the weeds were beginning to pop up from between the paving slabs. Then, before I could be seen, I forced my feet, my errant feet, to walk away back down the road, over the hill and away. Again.
My gloved hand held onto my scarf as the wind tugged; it whipped up the leaves at my feet and cut against my cheeks making me wish that I’d put on moisturiser before I’d gone out. But the last thing one thinks of when one is slipping out of the house at a funeral is to slather ones face with moisturiser.
I tried to understand why I’d walked to his door. And all I could think of was that he had been my comforter so many times before, that it was ingrained in me to search him out. I wondered if he knew. If he knew would he turn up? What would I say to him? My mind stayed infuriatingly blank, after all these years, after all that we’d had together, you’d think that I’d have some inkling of what I should say to him. Oh I knew what I wanted to say, but that wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t going to make things right. Magic doesn’t happen in the real world.
Out past the sign welcoming you into town, telling you what a nice place it is to shop, that it’s a heritage centre, I trudged. Up along Millers Hill, down past Hawthorn House and over the stone walls to the Point. Everyone calls it the Point. The jutting cliff edge that faced out towards America at the end of a stony outcrop where only goats were let out to pasture. There were no goats today, it was too windy and they were clever enough to stay further inland. I, however, walked up to the Point, my head down against the whip of the salty spray, my step sure. There was a flag stone at the top of the small hill and I sat on it, cross legged. I ignored the cold damp of it. I needed to be here, on top of my world, flagellated by the stinging wind clean of my past. Of all the lies I had told, of the web I’d woven that had ensnared and entangled more than my greedy heart could manage. More than I could comprehend. By the time I’d realised that it wasn’t all a game well, it was too late. I lay back on the stone, stared up into the grey nothing sky, unblinking against the spits of rain that threatened to turn into a deluge and tried to think about nothing. What was the point in thinking? I thought, then laughed aloud at the thought of not thinking, here at the Point there was nothing else to do but think. Below me the waves crashed against the rocks, they roared at my stupidity and the more I tried to drown them out, the louder they mocked me. Then I realised that if I rolled over, twice, maybe three times, that I could just roll right over the edge and into those mocking waves. Then they’d shut up. They’d have to, because it’d be all their fault. I rolled once, onto my belly and lay my face onto the wet stone. Tiny little stones set themselves into my skin and I could hear tiny bubbles of air popping and bursting beneath my ear. I listened for a minute, they popped rhythmically and kept time well. A short laugh burst from me, loud and odd considering things. I rolled again, onto my back and this time the rain was heavier. The drops splashed hard against my face, hard against my good wool coat, navy not black. Strangely enough, I had never bought a black coat. This made me laugh again and I tried to move, but the raindrops seemed to have pinned me to the flag stone. It took such an effort to move, but I did. I rolled back onto my belly and this time there was a pulse beneath me, a heartbeat. It came from the earth and it filled my body, entering through my navel, filling the hollows of my bruised body, pulsating against my ribs and pounding in my head. Gasping with shock, I pulled myself around to face to sea, still lying on my belly, still on the stone. I pushed forwards until my nose was just over the edge and the spray hit me full force. The waves reached up to me, their claws reaching for mine. The foamy flicks touched my knuckles and were surprisingly warm. They kissed my hands, licking as a familiar lover would my fingers, drawing me closer and the longing inside me grew hungrier and hungrier. My hands grabbed the edge, the tufts cut into my palms, leaving mud, sticky, heavy clinging mud in my grasp. Closer, my arms pulled me closer until my head was over the edge, then my shoulders. The rain beat down against my back, hammering me into the muddy stone, beating me into the ground. The waves looked so enticing below me. They’d stopped mocking me, now they were beckoning me. Foaming lacily and undulating, and I wanted to be swallowed up, I wanted that caress, that peace. I don’t know what was holding me back. All I needed to do was to shift forward, just a tiny bit and the balance would shift and I’d soar through the air until I felt the consuming embrace of the sea. There! There! That was it! It was his voice that had grounded me. It seemed to be on the wind, to be instructing the rain to hold me down, to stop me. How could he? How dare he? Kicking against the flag, I could hear the scuffling of my new boots. They’d be fit for the bin now. I kicked out again, but I couldn’t. And his voice filled my head, it began to beat back against the earths pulse, it drowned out the waves lament and I screamed until my voice gave out and my lungs were dragging the salty air back in. It felt like I was swallowing the sea. I looked down into the sea below me, angry as it smashed against the rocks. Angry because I was being dragged away from it. He was pulling me back and I was in his arms before I realised it and I screamed and screamed as I clung to him.
I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry so sorry so sorry sorry sorry sorry.
Over and over until the words mashed into one long primitive moan and I emptied my soul as he held me tight. Tighter than he’d ever held me before and it felt right. It felt like it was time. Time to come home. I clicked my heels and wished with all my spent heart that I could come home; I knew that I didn’t need to ask him. His green eyes said it all, his brave heart had never given up and his hand had never let me go.