The beach was empty that morning, even the wind was somewhere else, it seemed as through the world was needing its breath, waiting as if something was missing, as if the needed what was missing to make it complete again. I walked on knowing that it would never be complete again, that for me something would always be missing. The cold stung my face making my skin tighter than it already felt, the first few fringes of dawn light emerged and started to spread into the inky darkness that was left of the night sky. The wind started to pick up, whipping the spray from the waves onto my face and into my eyes.
The saltwater stung my eyes but no tears came, none were left as I had used them the night before. I huddled deeper into my thick coat and made my way to the out sterner of rock that rose out of the sand morning it’s smooth perfect surface. When I reached the rock, for first time I looked back along the beach and up to the house, the curtains were pulled open and smoke was rising from the chimney. Aunt Beth was already up but she did not come looking for me, either she had not discovered that I was gone or she had seen me and decided to give me peace for a while.
I turned my back on the house and the single set of footprints in the sand and climbed the rock. With the dawn wind had came with vengeance and it was even stranger on their rock. It whipped my hair in front of my face trying to blind me, to make me fall but I had aim bed that rock. When I reached the top of the rock. I sat and looked out over the sea to watch the sun slowly climb the sky. Although I had lived here from the age of nine, usually the sight of sunrise never failed to impress me, it had never lost it’s magic until that morning. I was too empty inside, my eyes saw the beauty but my mind was numbered against it.
I felt as though the humanness inside me would never end and had done so since the telegram had arrived the previous evening. Without wanting or needing it, the night before played over in my mind. Michael had come with the telegram just before tea. Uncle Tom had been about to turn to the wireless when I opened the door, Jamie was behind me. Just the sight of Michael standing at the door made me grow cold and when he looked up at me I grew even colder, it was the look up at me I grew even colder, it was the look of sympathy and grief in his eyes that confirmed what I already suspected.
Jamie took one look at the man we had bath known most of over lives and his hands grabbed my arms. By this time the whole family had come out into the hall to see what was going on. As soon as they saw who was standing there, no one spoke, not one moved yet a whole conversation was carried out with thoughts. Michael presented me with thoughts. Michael presented me with a telegram, I could feel Jamie squeeze my arm and automatically took the telegram but it was Jamie who signed for it. He Spoke to Michael for it.
He spoke to Michael for a few seconds, gave him some money, shut the door and turned to me. If anything ever had an area of death it was the telegram but I had share, for a split second I almost fooled myself into believing that all this might tell me is that he had been injured and that he was coming home but it was only for a split second. Silence ruled in the hallways as I tried to wake up my courage to open the telegram. I never saw further then “The was departed regrets to inform you…… The words were glazed by a river of tears, the telegram fell needlessly to the floor as I collapsed for my dead father. I lost conscious after a while and fell into blissful dreamless sleep the few times I did regain consciousness I was aware of being held still and being rocked back to sleep with kind soothing words. When I awake at the fire it was still the dark of long winter nights. Alison had been in the chair at my bedside, I assumed that each of my cousins had some kind of vigil over me. I smiled and left her sleep and after getting dressed slipped out the back door and onto the beach.
It was the scream of a seagull that brought me back to the present and almost automatically I glanced up to the beach and saw a tall dark figure eating up the distance between the house and myself. I knew who it was, Aunt Beth had sent the on person who would not let me feel sorry for myself and who was strong enough to carry me back to the house if needed be. He never said a word when he stepped in front of the rock and neither did I, he just climbed the rock and sat beside me in complete silence, We watched the sea for a while then gently he put his arms around me and I burrowed into the warmth he offered.
He nested his chin on top of my head and said “come on, let’s go home”, I nodded in agreement and both of us climbed down the rock. As we walked back to the house in silence in a way I had made peace with myself and the fact what i had lost my father. The memories I had of him were dearer now and I knew that he would want me to remember but the memories would still cause pain. I stopped for a moment and pulled out the chain that hung around my neck. I looked at my long dead mothers weeding ring. I smiled for a second at the thought of the two of them together again, I turned and smiled just as briefly at Jamie and he turned to walk home.