The rain bothered her. It had been raining, it seemed, ever since she had arrived, three months ago. It felt like she’d lived here forever and the rain had poured down forever. It had been raining all night and now at 8AM, it came down in a steady downpour
The cottage sat on the edge of the beach, the deck, always wet, had been sold as the perfect place to sit, gazing at the ever-changing patterns of the waves crashing and heaving upon the beach, about 50 meters away. She’d tried to sit there, the rain pouring down on her head, washing away the minimal makeup together with the tears that rolled down her cheeks.
That was the last time she had cried, sitting there in the rain, the waves racing up and throwing themselves on the shore, the wind whipping her hair around her face like wet whiplashes. She’d needed those two hours to work it out of her system.
The tears were gone, but the thoughts remained. They would never go. She didn’t want them to. She wanted to remember the days. She just didn’t want the memory of them to hurt her anymore.
The walls were white painted board, hung with the watercolours she painted so often in her teenage and early twenties. The sofa had more throw cushions than any average person would want in a lifetime, but she had seemingly collected without let or hindrance. Or remorse. She may have had some remorse for some of the things she had done, but absolutely none for buying cushions. They appealed to her, in every conceivable colour or pattern, or texture.
Robin had once commented, “It’s a replacement for the sculptures you refuse to produce”.
Maybe, Robin had been right about that. But she could not, would not go back to sculpture; not after that fiasco at the Summer Art Festival. The gasps followed by the stunned silence of the viewers rang through her memories. She could see it and the gasps reverberated through her head in a crescendo of sound. The crash of the falling piece as she pushed it over, and stamped on the broken pieces, surrounded by the cries was, however, a silent one. She could see it, but not hear it.
Rebecca picked up her cup, settled back and pulled the blanket closer around her. She drank her coffee, the mug cupped in both hands. Her phone buzzed. She ignored it. It buzzed again. She picked it up and saw it was Susie. A text message followed.
‘Coming around. Be there in 15 minutes. Get the coffee started. Or wine…’
She sat on the porch. The wind had died and the rain had eased into a barely perceptible drizzle. Just before 10AM, the car drove up, with Robin at the wheel. Susie jumped out, waving frantically from the passenger seat. She came running up to the porch and flung herself at Rebecca.
Behind her came Robin, followed by him, James Dodd, tech millionaire, art afficianado, and ex husband. Susie saw Rebecca stiffen and cried out.
“Oh Becky! We had to get Jim here. Robin and I are dead tired of watching him crying copiously all day, everyday!”
“Oh yeah! What’s his problem? Jim, what’s eating you now?”
Jim stood there, hands in the pockets of his slacks. There was an awkward silence, before he spoke.
“The memory of what we had. It won’t go away. I wanted to see you and tell you that. But these guys wouldn’t tell me where to find you. And nobody else seemed to know also.”
“Well, you’ve told me that and now you know where I am.”
Rebecca’s trembling lip betrayed her defiance.
“Robin and Susie, why did you tell him and why did you bring him?” she asked.
Susie said, “Oh, Becky! I couldn’t take it anymore. The thought of you mooning around here and him mooning around over there was driving me crazy and, darling, it’s time.”
“Is it, Rebecca? Is it time? Is it time to add to those memories we can’t forget?” said Jim.
Rebecca turned to the window. The rain had stopped, the day had brightened. Out across the sea she could see shafts of sunlight streaking down to the water.
“We can have lunch”, she said.
Robin said, “I got a picnic hamper in the car.”
They took the chairs down to the beach and ate sandwiches, and fruit, washed down with wine.
At 3PM she watched them walk back to the car. Robin and Susie settled in. Jim, stood there, his hand on the door. He waved at her, a small gesture, almost not a gesture at all. Then he ducked into the back seat. Robin turned the car around, waved at her and they drove off.
Rebecca sat on the beach, the waves lapping gently at her feet, her glass of wine in her hand, her sunglasses keeping out the sun that beat down upon her.