All around her the biting wind howled,
carrying fragmented echoes
of children's voices: happy laughter
as they chased each other - sometimes
perilously close to the lethal cliff edge,
where tall reed-like grasses bowed and rippled
as if paying homage to some ancient God;
all powerful...and merciless.
Startled, she spun around to see
a man walking his dog.
Probably hurrying home to his contented wife
and happy home she thought enviously,
as she continued to climb the steep path
to it's highest point.
Once there she stood poised on the ridge
and watched the winter sun
striking the waves far below, like
watery lightening zig-zagging across
it's heaving surface.
Numb with despair and self-loathing,
she felt less than nothing: would much rather
be that discarded beer can on the path
than what she was -
his living, breathing punch bag;
bruised and abused, unloved, unwanted and
devoid of hope.
At least that can would never suffer
this endless pain.
Nowhere to hide here, the wind
seemed to whisper in her ear.
And her broken heart began to race,
beating it's now familiar tattoo:
Set me free. Set me free. Set me free.
Then a vortex of air enclosed her,
tugging her hair skywards as the sea
over two hundred metres below
formed itself into steps leading downwards.
Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven"
began playing inside her head.
But, does the wind blow in Heaven?
Suddenly a gull appeared.
It hovered directly in front of her face
and the Angel opened her wings.
A peculiar calm washed over her
as she stepped off the cliff edge
and into that Angel's loving embrace...
Far below, a beer can rode up onto the shore
with the tide and came to rest
amongst the pebbles.
It's crushed and battered form
glistening in the healing rays of the Sun
made it appear content,
And the gulls' mournful cries
announced the latest victim
of the curse of Beachy Head.