Lost and Lonely

He didn't know how long he'd stayed there, watching the sea, but the hands that held the newspaper were numb. He wasn't sure where he was now. He'd walked miles along the coast, seeing nothing but that brief, bald statement of the facts. The woman who had told him she was his alone had been married; the woman who had promised to meet him and go away with him was dead.

There was no reason not to join her. What lay ahead but a lifetime of being in places without Anna? She had loved him. He remembered bitterly, "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." He wanted to make a big pile of all the stupid poetry in the world and burn it. Failing that, he could at least quench his own fires of love and rage in the sea and end a life that had never mattered much in any case.

He had always loved the sea. He remembered the Greek smugglers, telling him that the sea was better than a woman, because if the sea stopped loving you, the worst she would do was kill you. It had seemed melodramatic to a heart that had never known love.

The sea had ceased to be beautiful. This morning, it was empty of light and colour. The sun's light had lost the golden glow of other days. Anna was dead.

He had lived too long. His tenacious grip on life had kept him alive when most people would have died. He had held on, not because he really believed things would get better, but because it seemed cowardly to take the easier way and give in. Life had become better. For a time, it had been wonderful, but now it was different. Anna was dead.

There was nothing to live for and nobody who'd miss him and the sea offered a swift end and no need for others to bother themselves about his funeral.

He wanted death, longed for it, but something stopped him. More even than an end to his pain, he craved the sound of a friendly voice and the touch of a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. Just once, he wanted to share his pain and be told that it mattered.

With tears in his eyes, he sought out a telephone. His hands and voice shook. When he heard the familiar voice, he was afraid to speak, in case his faith in Daniel was also misplaced. Having nowhere else to turn, he said, "Daniel, something's happened."

Daniel didn't ask what had happened. He just said, "Come home, Harry."

He glanced back at the sea. He had no idea how he could go on from this, but at least he had somewhere to go to think about it.

The End