I knew I shouldn’t be alone but I was. Sitting on the edge of the cliff, I looked out. I could see an endless stretch of darkening blue sea, the waves bobbing gently and the sunset lit sky which tonight was a strange amber orange colour. I didn’t know why and I didn’t care. Listening to the waves, I was grateful there were no seagulls or other noises. It was just me, the sea, sky and this cliff.
I swung my legs and looked down at the sheer drop. I wasn’t sure how high I was, maybe two hundred meters? Perhaps more. I wondered how long it would take me to fall. I shuffled closer, so I was almost hanging off the edge. I thought about all the other times I’d seen people fall from great heights – mostly in movies. They had seemed to kinda enjoy the experience.
Tightening my grip on the rock, the urge to just let go and fall grew. I tried not to think about it nor how it would solve so many problems. I thought about what they say about attempts that it was a split second that made you change your mind and also the more time you thought about doing it the less the chance was.
The body wanted to survive but my unconscious didn’t. I shut my eyes and imagined the rush of air, the sense of flying and freedom. I wanted it so badly. Just for there to be nothing and to not have to think anymore. To be done with it all.
The sounds of the waves sounded louder now and there seemed to be less cliff under me. I knew it had been a bad idea to be alone.
Rick couldn’t believe he was doing this, clinging to the side of the cliff like a limpet whilst the sea turned stormy below him. Taking a deep breath, he reached up and felt rock cutting into his hand through his gloves. Gritting his teeth, he pulled himself up and started to climb again.
Suddenly his hand hit empty space. Panic rocketed through him and Rick quickly dropped his hand on to the next stone he could see. It give way, coming off the wall like chewing gum. It tumbled from his hand and fall down into the sea. He twisted to see it go and watched as a small plume of spray rose then vanished under a large wave.
Rick scrambled for another strong hold. Found one and pressed himself against the cliff face. He breathed in sea salt soaked stones, which reminded him of the taste of dried seaweed. He shut his eyes and from somewhere deep inside of himself found the will to go on.
He reached up again, felt the top of the cliff under his fingers and began pulling himself over. Grunting loudly, Rick reached the top and came to rest on his knees. Dragging in deep breaths, he twisted around and sat down. His feet dangled over the edge and he looked across the sea.
The waves were raging now in a mix of inky greens, blues and creams. They crashed loudly against the bottom of the cliffs, blocking all other sounds. Rick looked at the sky, which was as dark as a fresh bruise then he felt water drops against his face.
He laughed, the sound carried and echoed around him.
The rain huddled down, soaking him straight through and cleaning him of all the rock dust. Out across the now tempest ocean, the thunder rumbled. Rick laughed harder, loving the feel the cold rain against his skin and feeling truly alive for the first time in ages.
She put on wellington boots and a rain coat. Leaving the hallway light on out of habit, she stepped outside. The chilly night air wrapped around her, but it was too late to think about being cold now. She pulled the door to and set off, feeling the sand path underneath her. Drawn by the sound of the sea, she went to the cliff.
A life time ago this afternoon, she had stood here and looked down, her eyes scanning desperately and seeing hints of his brown coat bobbing with the waves. She couldn’t remember how she’d gotten back home. She inched to the very edge and felt the soft land give way under her feet.
Questions and thoughts spiraled through her head. What had he been thinking? Feeling? Where was he now? She looked down, but saw only darkness though she heard the waves loud and clear. Clenching her fists, she hated herself for not doing this before. She should be with him.
Shuffling her boots along the edge till only her heels were still on, she stopped and looked up. A million pinpricks of white hung above sheltered by a half moon. She could make out some of the constellation, but couldn’t remember any of their names. She wondered what was out there beyond the stars and if that was where everyone ended up.
She shut her eyes, trying to quieten the racing of her heart and the headache beating in her ears. She wrestled with herself as she balanced upon life and death. The cliff point made choice for her and fell away from her feet. She plummeted down with a scream only the night could hear. The wind and waves stole her voice away and she felt wet all over then nothing more as the black sea water rushed up to greet her, hungry for another victim.
Another wave broke at the bottom of the cliffs, scattering white frothy spray everywhere. He looked over the edge at the roaring sea and took a deep breath. He bent his knees, held out his coat behind him like a cape and jumped.
The letter was on his desk when she walked in. Putting the washing basket on his bed, she picked it up and spent a few moments trying to decipher his handwriting. As the words sank in, she dropped the paper and ran.
The cold salty air rushed up to meet him. His coat ripped about behind him and for a few moments he imagined he was a bird. Tears appeared in the corner of his eyes then were whipped away as quickly as they had appeared.
She raced out in her slippers and jumper, all other thoughts gone out of her head. She tore open the cottage’s front gate and almost stumbled onto the sand pathway. Long, hard grass blades cut across her, but she ignored them and fled onwards.
The crashing waves ring loud in his ears and he could feel spitting droplets on his face. He smiled, feeling freer then he had in years. He yelled out and the wind tore through his mouth and snatched his wordless voice away. He looked down and saw the sea rising up to meet him.
Panic and pain shot through her chest as she reached the top of the cliff. Barely stopping her feet in time, she watched some small white stones scattering and falling over the edge. She clutched her chest and searched the stormy sea for any sign of him.
He let go of everything and held out his hands to reach the crests of the waves. Chilly water splashed against him then welcomed him inside with a deathly embrace.
She cried and screamed at the edge of the cliff until she tasted blood in her mouth and her body collapsed into the dirt, spent and shaking.
A full week before she drowned, she had been plagued by the smell of the ocean. It had seemed to fill every room of the house and trail after her when she went out. The saltiness clung to her tongue making everything taste bitter and sandy. To make matter worse, she begin to find seaweed, driftwood and sand grains everywhere. No amount of cleaning and washing seemed to get rid of the ocean and she became beside herself. When she told others about it they told her she was going mad or else it was natural for a cottage on the cliffs to be like that. However, she knew something was wrong and that night when she went to bed during the storm, she knew that she should have left.