Even on a crowded beach she brought her bone-chilling solitude with her. It wrapped her in its grey tendrils leaving her unable to feel the sun, or hear the sea or the children’s laughter. Instead, she sat with her thin arms wrapped about her shins and stared into the water.
It was as if by staring enough into the green depths she might see him laying on the shifting sands with his pockets weighted with lead and his pretty throat slit by the unkindness of a knife.
The weekend went on around her unseeing eyes and unhearing ears, and after a while her abstraction rendered her so insubstantial that the playing children ran over her and through her without either knowing she was there or disturbing her reverie. Day drew into night and still she sat watching as the sun fell and the moon rose, delineating a silver pathway from the breaking waves beside her cold, bare feet.
Called by some voice from who knew where, the woman rose and walked into the silvered water. It was, she found, surprisingly warm even as it grew deeper and her skirts began to float about her like the petals of a drowned flower.
“Where are you?” she whispered in a voice grown thin and pallid from lack of use.
For a moment, she thought she heard familiar laughter in the salt-laden air, then she became sure this was just one more illusion. But it didn’t matter anyway. She was too tired for any of it to matter any more. It would, she thought, be a blessing when the waves closed over her head. The madness would pass then, and she might no longer be alone.
She pushed her face into the water, trying to suck the killing waves into her lungs, but she felt her face lifted by cold rough-skinned hands.
“Be brave,” the voice of her dead love spoke in her ears and that was the last thing she heard before the sea accepted her sacrifice and drew her thin, cold body into its heaving bosom.
And was her love awaiting her in the ever shifting deeps?