The Last Day – a short story

Photo by Gwyneth Morgan

There were no other cars as she arrived at the end of the rocky lane and for that she was grateful.  She chose her spot carefully, observing for the last time how her car had to look as she parked it.  In the past she would have found the first free space and left it there but today was special and she wanted the parking spot to be special too.  She chose a spot beside the olive tree and parked the car carefully.  As she stepped out, pulling her scarf around her, she noticed, not for the first time, the knocks and bumps in the body work, much like her own.

The wind was blowing fiercely now; the island was on red alert due to the high winds which they said were reaching up to 160km/h which was perfect for what she had in mind.  She checked that the letter was visible, just there on the passenger seat and she left the keys alongside it and the driver’s door unlocked to make it easier for the next person.

She had nothing to take with her except herself, wrapped up against the wind and carefully she stepped over the stones and through the gate and made her way down to the beach.  She had always loved this particular beach, with its 20 minute walk through the woods, downhill before reaching the little secluded cove.  As she gently stepped over rocks and stones, she remembered past excursions when life had been good.  Suddenly she stopped.  The winds were howling through the trees but just on top of them she was sure she heard another sound.  She remembered that summer when they had come here, late one night, to camp out under the stars.  They had stopped suddenly when they heard the gentle sounds of a cow; but until they had discovered it was in actual fact a cow, their hearts had stopped in shock.  How they had laughed when the cow had run off with its own fears.  Good times, why did they have to end she thought yet one more time.

Even though it was still day, the skies were a fearsome mix of colours – blues, blacks, reds and oranges – she was glad for the colour fest, as up until today everything had been just a dull beige colour in her life; vibrant and pastel colours long missing from her day to day.  The sounds ripping through the trees felt like her head and she felt in symphony with it all.  As she got further and further down to the cove, the sound of the seas got louder and louder.  Suddenly she was there and the sight took her breath away.  The waves were high and crashing against the rocks and the shore, their colour dark and menacing.  The wind pushed her back, almost pleading with her not to come any further, but today was the day and she had made her decision, no turning back.

She stopped, observing the cove in front of her.  Where would be the best place she asked herself.  Over to the left, to the rocks up high, the jagged, uneven rocks?  Or to the right with the huge slabs of smooth rocks where she had spent many a day, lying on top of them, feeling the sun on her naked, bare skin and his fingers tracing their way up and down, in and out of her being.  She laughed, it would have to be the right side, this was fitting after all, the memories were stronger here.

She made her way over to the right of the beach, pushing herself against the wind, determined to get to her spot.  Twice, she was pushed back and if she listened carefully she could hear the winds shouting to her, no, no, go home.  She would not let them change her mind, this was it, this was her decision taken yesterday evening and she was not going to change her mind now.

Last night had been truly the worst night of her life and today she felt that finally she could put it all behind her.  How had she been so wrong about him?  Seeing him last night, smiling, happy, with not a care in the world and with her!  It was almost as if they had never been, never existed, never lived.  How her heart had stopped, the pain unbearable – if God had been good, the pain would have been the heart attack she so desperately wanted.  Just to stop the pain, stop all of the voices in her head, the ones laughing at how naïve she had been, those other ones scathingly telling her what an idiot she was.  But no, instead here she was today, to stop her heart once and for all.

She climbed up onto the rocks, her steps heavily pushing ahead against what seemed like the strongest fortress in the world.  This was so hard, she thought as she pushed herself up.  She reached the top and as the wind knocked her back, she hung on, not wanting to climb up and do it all over again.  She pushed through her limits and with a final mighty push, she heaved herself up onto the rock of her past.  Her hands held her in place and as she looked around, she thought she could hear voices.  She shook her head and told herself she was being silly, there was no-one here today, she was all alone.

Her right hand felt something and she looked down.  There she saw it, as clearly as the day they had scribbled and scratched for a good two hours.  Their initials encircled in the heart.  A sob escaped from her and she thought no, I have to be strong, no more tears.  But what a special day that had been and how proud she had felt when he proposed they sign their names there, so long ago.

She forced herself to stand up and whilst her legs felt weak with the effort, her mind was strong.  This was it, no turning back now.  She threw her arms out to embrace the future and as she stood there, before the strong and fearsome seas, she saw a crack of light open in the dark sky.  The light shone down on her and as she was lifted to her feet by one last gust of wind, the wave came and embraced her, finally she was free.

 

 

Thanks to Gwyneth Morgan for the loan of her photo