I don’t actually like Wuthering Heights much. Not the book, anyway. Now the Kate Bush song – That’s a different story! I listened to it while writing this, hence the name.
The wind is picking up, and I have to correct my balance again to keep my slight frame from plunging over the cliff and into the raging sea beneath. The howl ulduates in pitch and reaches deafening crescendos before dropping away to an eerie silence again, but the churning drone of the sea is endless.
I love the sea. I always have, ever since I was a child. I’ve never been a sailor, nothing like that – my love of the sea is purely how it makes me feel. It’s teams with life and death, churns unthinking and uncompromising, a pure force of energy, and I find that wonderfully uncomplicated and straightforward. I’ve lived most of my life in towns and cities, where everywhere I look I can see buildings, cars, and endless streams of people traipsing about their existence like any of it means a thing. But when I’m at the coast, I can look out in one direction and see nothing but endless, infinite water. I mean, of course I know it’s not infinite – France is out there somewhere – but as far as I can see, it’s the end of the world out there, there’s no more people waiting with expectations and demands. It’s primal, final and real.
I come here maybe once a month, when work and home life (or the lack there of) start building up in my brain like a bubble, ready to explode and spatter grey matter all over the walls. When it starts to take a second bottle of wine to get me to sleep at night, then I know I need the simplicity of the sea. The restless way it moves and swells seems to reflect my own troubled and ever constant thoughts, and after a few hours of staring, I start to find my worries and anxieties flooding into the water. It’s as if the sea’s size and strength is eternally able to take my thoughts from me and sooth me, and on more than one occasion I’ve fallen asleep up on the benches that overlook the horizon up here on the cliffs. I’m so lost in my trance of sea, wind and rain, that I almost miss the man’s voice, shouting above the din of nature.
“You alright there, love?” He calls.
Love, I roll my eyes. I came here to get away from people, but there just seems to be an endless supply of them. Not as endless as the sea, though.
“I’m fine, thank you.” I tell him.
“You’ll catch your death up here, it’s supposed to keep getting worse.” His voice is strained, but kindly.
Catch my death, I think, if I’m lucky enough.
“That’s okay, I’ve been up here in worse.” I try to make my voice as final as I can, to get my point across.
“Well then,” he claps his hands together, “Fancy some company for a bit?”
“Not particularly,” I reply instantly, snapping into my ice-bitch voice that has me so feared at work.
“Free country though, innit?” He adds.
I sigh, although I’m sure the sound is whipped away by the wind and tossed out into the atmosphere before he has chance to hear my exasperation. I risk a glance at him, and I’m impressed to see that he’s pretty handsome, with a strong jaw with rough stubble and dark, kind eyes. I’m not exactly the
type to fall in love with strangers on seaside cliffs, but if he’s got a warm bed for the night… Well, I’d probably be up for that.
“So you just come and stare at the sea then?” He asks me.
“Yep,” I answer shortly, and then decide to add, “It helps me unwind, is all. I like the simplicity of the sea.”
“I spend most of my time out on that sea, and trust me, it’s far from simple.” He warns.
A fisherman, I smile to myself. Strong hands and broad shoulders are always a plus.
“But it’s uncomplicated,” I explain to him, “It has simple rules and no subtext. I don’t have the patience for all the politics and intricacies of human beings. The sea is all there for you to see.”
He studies me for a good few seconds, and I stare back defiant. I know I’m a good looking woman, in my own way – men certainly look at me often, at least. Eventually, he holds out his hand and it takes me a second to realise that I’m being offered a handshake. I take it. His rough hand is so much bigger and stronger than mine. Office work hardly builds physique.
“David,” he tells me. I contemplate making a name up, like I’ve done with guys I’ve gone home with before, but change my mind. There’s a genuineness to him that sets me at ease. I open my mouth to tell him my name, and that’s when the wind suddenly picks up violently, whipping round us both and pitching me over the edge of the cliff and into the black angry sea below.