Arriving at the beach, she reflected on her life. She had lived long and experienced life to the full. She had had such fun with Ross: their antics may have got them into trouble but they had seized the day! She remembered cradling Megan in her arms. Motherhood was one experience she treasured – especially after she had lost Ross, the love of her life. She had never loved with that passion and abandonment again; yet Rory had brought to her a sense of peace and contentment. His love had calmed the sense of agony she had felt after the accident. Listening to the waves crashing on the shore, she smiled. She heard them now, the voices of her grandchildren and the rest of her family. Soon they would be next to her and yet she knew she was ready to go and meet Ross; she had done and seen everything life had to offer. Soon the pain would be over and the act of living complete.
The newly installed tap had become the focal point of the village: women gathered around it to gossip; men stopped by to exchange advice; nearby children played their imaginative games and shrieked with delight when their best friends arrived. Ntombi had been grateful when the huge truck had arrived to install the water reservoir. Having water on tap within the compound saved time that was better spent in the fields. But she missed the solitude of her long walks to the river and the time to reflect on her dreams.
Dropping her line into Fool’s Lake, she patiently waited for something to bite. Fishing was a little like her life at the moment. She had to wait quietly, calmly, for the results she wished to know right now. But worrying about possibilities would not speed up the process in any way. Taking a deep breath, she looked out onto the rippling blue water of the lake. She allowed the tranquillity of the scene to seep into her soul and quieten her fears. The light breeze moved through her hair and the silence on the pier was an unexpected gift. She knew that if the tests were positive and she did have cancer, her life would change. No longer would she tumble headlong into meetings and flights all over the country. Instead, hospital visits would be on her agenda. Her priority would be her health and the healing of her body.
What would you do while waiting for life-changing news?
It had been a while since I had come to the place of my childhood – I had run far and fast two years ago. I looked at the unkempt boat on the pier, seeing in my mind’s eye the young blonde child laughing with her dad. Those had been happy times when I had blossomed in the radiance of a father’s love. If only he had not felt the need to bring two strangers into our lives. Looking at my father’s old boat, I swore that they would pay for what they had done to the man I had loved all my life.
The litter left behind told its own story: the teens had gathered here intent on squeezing out every bit of fun from stolen moments. They had not believed the stories told of mysterious disappearances on moonlit nights. With the arrogance of youth, they believed themselves to be invincible and beyond danger. Outsiders came and investigated, believing they would find the missing persons. The lifelong residents of the godforsaken town knew, however, that no amount of searching would yield results. The young ones had been taken and would never be returned.
The withered plants and ice reflected the heart inside the house. His love for her had shriveled from lack of care and interest: emotions had hardened and encased a previously warm heart. The icicles of feelings protected his spirit from more harm, limiting her ability to cause any more damage. The winter of emotions had been long and a thaw was beginning. Love, however, was not longing to burst free. Instead it was a simmering hatred that wished to completely destroy both the woman and the bearer of the heart.