It is tea-time when the sun arrives: hot, bright and determined. The storm that has battered the island all day leaves with the speed with which it arrived: all full throttle and drama.
I grab my rucksack and head out towards the cliffs, the ground steaming as the sun bakes the sodden earth: a squelching sponge beneath my boots. Cold droplets flick onto my calves but as I set into a rhythm and my momentum increases, the coolness refreshes my warm skin.
When I reach the highest point I stand for a moment, watching the gulls rising high into the deep blue bottomless well of sky, their dazzling whiteness a showy salute to the retreating clouds.
“This time I’ll do it,” he’d slurred, his breath stinking of stale ale and whisky, a trickle of drool spooling from his livery lips. I had laughed incredulously, cruelly. My raised eyebrows egging him on. Go on then, do it. He’d stared at me for a moment, and I’d backed away, sure of the swipe that was coming. But he’d wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and pushed past me, leaving the door to bang in the wind.
The path ribboning down the cliff doesn’t quite reach the sand and, careful not to look at the scene to my right, I jump. Something stirs in my memory. A leap into the air; strong hands reaching out, catching me, holding me close. Laughter as I’m twirled around, legs and hair flying out as I arch my back while sea and sky race by.
There were no hands to catch him in his resolve to be free. No arms to hold him as he fell. But I hope the gulls swooped down and clutched his soul, and at last he found release.