And then reality hits her like a punch in the guts; arriving back at her car, taking off her coat she turns to speak to an enormous out of breath man, being tugged along by a pair of eager dogs….”Staffies,” she cries out to them and reaching down to their sleek, joyful, wriggling bodies, she suddenly feels him. Like an inner sonar wave, before she sees him, she feels him.  Fleet of foot, he slips by and slides right in to the car parked beside her, his young girlfriend driving. They pull out and drive away, leaving her flush faced, guts churning.  And the demons dance and cry, waving their fists triumphantly in the air, “we told you, we said so, didn’t we???

“And any way she had said to him, I don’t care. It’s too late, It was always too late”

The grinding truth descends, she DOES care.  She feels empty and hollow as an abandoned shell, and struggling….trying to get some much needed air, trying to breathe.

And her own, softer, compassionate voice, “darling, you knew, you always knew it would be like this, you did know, didn’t you?”

And then, despite a gut full of sharp knives, the voice of reason, “better this raging pain, than the numbness you felt before.”  She’s not so sure, as knees bent on her bedroom floor, arms folded across her belly, she rocks herself in overwhelming waves of grief.  Would she do it again???  Truthfully… a heartbeat.

Like the aftermath of a terrible storm, morning comes, all fresh and rainwashed clean, she goes about the simple doings of the day, finds all of herself , without, within …..still there, a complete, functioning female being. Content to be alone. She questions was it all a dream, finds his TShirt, still smelling of him. Finds peace, and some kind of wonder falls upon her.  “I am very much alive”,  and for now, nothing else matters, not one single thing.

Will she put herself in that kind of danger again, she knew and didn’t know the repercussions of taking such a step….off the cliff top, flying bodiless through space, then falling like a stone into the fire raging below, burning to ashes.

Now standing in her garden, she reaches down to the cool blue ceramic bowl, brimming with last night’s rain, throws cold clear water in her face, shakes herself….shaking all thought of him away.

And running through her mind at the very same time, the words he said, as they lay limbs entwined on the narrow bed.

“My love, my love….my little dove.”