Author: Emma M.Murray

The sound of the zipper closing echoes around my pristine kitchen. I notice, not for the fist time, how eerily quiet our home is. My opulent floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the Atlantic, lack any real substance… or fingerprints.

“Did ya remember the Merlot?” Tom shouts in. He has meticulously packed the jeep with everything we need for our camping trip.
“We’ll drink it watching the sunset on the ridge, it’ll be spectacular.”

I have no doubt that it will.
It always is.
But there’s always something missing.

“Tom… I’m thirty-nine next month, don’t you think it’s time…” I can’t even finish the sentence.
“Oh not this again! Look at how great our lives are! We said we’d wait.”
“I know, I know,” even though I really didn’t know when I’d agreed to that.
“I’m just afraid, I’m getting older…”
“Don’t worry about that, you’re fit and healthy… let’s go!”
Dismissing the conversation, and my unimportant feelings.

We begin our hike to The Poisoned Glen from the valley below.
A botched translation of our mother tongue turning heavenly to poisoned, in days gone by.
He walks ahead of me.
I pause momentarily, absorbing the beauty of our surroundings.
Lowering my shoulders.
“You OK?” he calls back, observing my reflection.
“Just taking a break.”
He retreats to where I’m rooted.
Encircled by miles of lush greens and towering mountains.
Pops of yellow ragwort scatter the countryside, like sprinkles of sunshine.

“Why do you need a break? They’re new boots! They were expensive!” he declares.

Constantly judging…

Never letting me just…breath.

“C’mon, I want to pitch before dusk.”

Persistently nudging…

Head down, I trek behind, following his footsteps.
Wondering if I’ve always been her.
The ‘yes dear, no dear, anything you want dear’ kinda girl.

Standing on the summit, I see a rocky plateau jutting out from the face of the mountain.

This is the spot.
Slowly we descend the treacherous terrain.
Scree loosens beneath us with every step.
Without warning he loses his balance.
Cruel arms flail helplessly as he falls.
His head strikes a rock, hard.
Coming to an abrupt halt.

Instinctively I run to him…
One look, diminishes my concern, and cements my inferiority.
He’s OK.

We pitch the tent, through stubborn dizziness and a pounding headache.
The sun throws a kaleidoscope of oranges and reds across the sky.

A fire’s seemingly indistinguishable flames.

The pain in his head intensifies.
I pour the wine, convincing him it will help.
Knowing it won’t…

I watch as the flames turn to dancing embers.

He lies down behind me.
Unearthly gasps ring out.
He judders, knocking the wine from it’s flimsy plastic glass.
I watch as the red liquid forms a pool of betrayal at my feet.

Moments pass before the air stills.
An unknowing darkness creeps in, quietly enveloping me.
I look to the night sky, for a glimmer of hope? A twinkling of redemption?
Grey clouds conceal my fate.

I don’t need to touch him to know he’s cold.

…but he always has been.