Six seconds

He loved this spot, loved the caress of soft meadow grass on bare legs, the way the buttercups at the cliff edge swayed in the gentle summer breeze.

She’d loved this place too.

This is where he’d proposed on a balmy June evening, nervous at the risk of refusal, the ring tucked in a torn Levi back pocket, a treasure he could barely afford on a mechanic’s meagre wage.

And she’d said yes.

The doctors had said there could be problems, twice pregnant, both lost. They’d kept trying but he sensed the subtle change in her mood, the silences, tears for no reason and much later, the absences. She’d be gone for days, frantic days when he’d phone and phone to no avail. And then she’d be back, a little better maybe. But she’d changed.

He stood up, a startled seagull screaming as it soared into the updraft. Two paces forward and there it was, through the haze the peace of the ocean far, far below.

He took out his mobile, typed a short message and pressed ‘Send’. Crumbs of chalk trickled over the edge, dropping silently to the shingle below.

He tossed the phone out, way out into the breeze and watched its arc, counting slowly as it fell.

They were right. Six seconds. He stepped forward to join her.

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