The final rays of sun sank below the dark clouds on the horizon. Orange bled into vermillion then deeper still to purple with a glowing streak across the rippling water. Martha sat on a spiky tuft of grass watching the sunset, sharp blades attacking her pale white bare legs. Six days he’d been gone now, tomorrow Sunday, a week without him. The disc dips below the water line as darkness descends, slowly she forces her legs to push her up, kneeling a moment she says a silent prayer.
‘Let him be safe, he knows that I love him.’
Carefully she picks her way back from the shore, up the narrow uneven path. Back on the road, no traffic, no streetlights. A short walk to the old fisherman’s cottage she calls home. The heavy wooden door creaks as she opens it and again when it closes. The reassuring metallic click as the lock is turned. A haven of peace. Her hand reaches out for the light switch on the small brass lamp. His chair still empty, his musky fragrance still hangs in the air; she breathes it in; a living reminder.
In the corner she looks at her easel by the small window. Subdued light gives the canvas a monochromatic quality. The yacht on the lake, the hills grey in the background. She lies on the couch, her mind filled with conflicting thoughts. Memories of yesterday, hopes and fears for tomorrow.
She wakes to the cold morning light drifting in. Bleary eyed she makes her way into the bedroom, climbs into bed and wraps the heavy blue blanket around her cold and tired limbs. Hours later, a heavy knocking on the door.
‘What time is it? Who is it?’
Martha jumps up and hurries to the door.
‘Good morning Martha, gosh you look as though you’ve just woken up.’
Ruth, her old school friend who now runs the village café.
‘I thought I’d see you in church this morning.’
‘Oh … I forgot … its Sunday, sorry Ruth. Come in and I’ll make us a drink.’
Ruth sits in his chair; Martha in the kitchen, kettle boiling on the stove.
‘How are you my dear?’
‘I feel as though I’ve lost a part of me.’
The room falls silent, the grey stone walls offer no warmth; the ash and embers of the fire lie still and cold. Martha’s seascapes decorate the walls, her life is water, but now the vessel is empty.
‘Maybe he’ll return one day, there’s always hope.’
Martha stares into the blackness of her coffee, a solemn tear escapes and slowly trickles down her milky white cheek.
‘He’s gone, I know.’
Ruth’s words of comfort have all dried up, nervously she looks at Martha’s pictures for inspiration.
‘The sea can be such a lonely place, the wind, the waves, the sun, the rain.’
‘I love the sea, I could never leave.’
‘But you could make a fresh start, a new beginning you have your paintings.’
‘I can only paint the sea, it is a part of me,’
‘You could paint the hills and the valleys.’
‘Ruth, the sea is blue, I am blue, I can only paint blue!’
‘You can come and help me out at the café.’
‘No Ruth, my place is here. If he returns how will he find me?’
Martha opened the door to look out at the landscape. The winding road up from the beach, past her house to the village two miles distant. The long grass swaying gently in the breeze. Today the sky is cloudy, grey and overcast to match Martha’s mood. All is quiet, not a car in sight. Movement in the distance, she strains her eyes to see. A dark, lonely figure walking towards her cottage.
‘He’s back, he’s back!’ Martha shouts running down the path and onto the road.