Friday 28 – Wednesday 2 November 2011
‘Anna? Anna, what are you doing? Step away from the edge.’
She didn’t move, and had no intention of doing so regardless of what Brady was asking. It was exhilarating to be this close to the edge and the end of everything. The chill factor was high, the wind whipped around Anna, sending her hair and clothing into a frenzy, and a thick fog appeared to be rolling in from the Irish sea.
She sniffed and wiped her nose against the back of her hand. What did hygiene and lady’s manners matter now? She knew Brady would cringe if he could see what she was doing. His woman wasn’t to be uncouth or common. His woman was a thing of beauty and sophistication, of grace and composure, of lightness and elegance. Anna didn’t feel as though she was any of those things anymore. Too much had happened to twist her insides and make her feel as ugly on the outside as she felt on the inside. And when she felt like that, there was no amount of reasoning with her, or sense to be made, that would relieve the anger that was brewing.
Despite the ferocity of the wind, she imagined that she could hear Brady shifting his weight from foot to foot, the sand grating under his feet and against the rocks of the cliff. In reality, Anna had no idea where he was standing now, how close he was to her, or why he was even out here tonight when he should be at his Lodge meeting. In truth, she didn’t care either. She really meant nothing to him; rather she acted as a trophy that he could show off to his friends, colleagues, and clients.
She was at a crossroad now. Anna had dealt with enough and she simply wanted everything to stop. She only knew one way to make that happen. She’d tried twice before to stop the world, but Brady had intervened on both occasions. He had an uncanny ability to show up in time to rescue her, arrogantly unaware that she didn’t want to be rescued. She wanted to be rid of him, and free of his self-centred nature. She was not an object to be ogled, and there were times where being elegant were the furthest thing from her mind.
‘Anna, please. Come back to me,’ he pleaded again. She wondered if she might have caught a hint of concern in his voice, and quickly glanced over her shoulder. He was trying to negotiate the waist-high stone barrier that separated them. It had been easy for her; she had done it many times since childhood. But Brady was afraid of heights, and being so close to the edge of the cliff face was a daunting task. She knew that he was likely to give up and remain on the other side of the barrier, too scared to actually come and save her. She knew he didn’t love her that much that he’d risk everything for her.
Anna glanced towards Brady again. Foolishly, he was still trying to hoist himself over the stones. She waited and watched, knowing precisely when she would do it. The wind whipped her hair into her eyes, stinging them momentarily. Spray from the sea below accumulated upon her face, tiny particles of salt attempting to crystallise in the air and free themselves from their watery prison. She could taste them more than she could smell them. They would indubitably cover her body, head to toe, and lodging deep within the fabric of her dress. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered now, except the end.
‘For Christ’s sake, Anna,’ Brady screamed over the wind assaulting them from the sea, ‘step back over the fence. Don’t be so ridiculous, woman.’
These were the words she had been waiting for. To Anna, they indicated that Brady had given up trying to get over the stone fence and had decided it was safer, and easier, to stay exactly where he was. These were the words that told Anna how much Brady really cared for her. They were the words that signalled that it was alright for Anna to go on her way.
With a last glance over her shoulder, Anna took a small step closer to the edge, her toes gripping the rocks for balance. She wanted it to be perfect. She turned to look at Brady, a mix of contempt and horror spreading across his face, the realisation setting in that she was serious. Another small step to balance her heels over the edge of the rocks, a weak smile on her lips, and Anna leaned back ever so slowly.
‘ANNA,’ Brady screamed. But her name was caught by the wind and swirled around his ears, seemingly echoing over the edge, as if lingering in sympathy with Anna who fell silently to the rocks and the water below.