On Sunday afternoon rain is lashing against the lounge window. The morning sunshine has been replaced by dark thundering clouds and a sea mist. It obliterates my view of the church spire across the Lough dashing any hope of riding the Harley down winding roads with wild irresponsible speed.
The fire is roaring and the Sunday papers are strewn across the floor.
I pace restlessly as I have paced since Maria left on Friday night. Our conversation has been replayed over and over inside my head, tumbling and mixing so quickly that I do not remember the truth of our conversation only the shape of her jaw, the laughter in her voice, her brown speckled eyes, and the way she self-consciously touched her hair, tilted her head and gazed at me.
Had she been flirting?
The storm rages outside and I stand spreadeagled pressing the palms of my hands against the floor to ceiling window.
I am hot, cold, energised and exhausted, leaning in supplication of the powerful electrical surge that seems to ripple through my body as cracking thunder splits the billowing black sky and driving wind rattles the pane.
My forehead rests against the cold glass until the storm subsides and the clouds break apart then I pull away from my trance-like state and begin pacing the room like a caged tiger - backwards and forwards.
The doorbell rings.
I move with stealth, tiger-like paces. My body is taut and lithe.
Maria stands on the step. Her hair wet from the rain.
“Can I come in?”
I stand aside.
She walks past me and into the lounge. She stands at the window.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
“Looking across the Lough is like looking at life from a different perspective. I have just been standing on the other side looking over here. From here everything is so easy and uncomplicated. I could be selfish and independent. Yet when I am on the other side looking over here I am confused and claustrophobic.”
I pass her a towel and stand beside her at the window.
“I had to get out.” She rubs her hair. A tang of Channel from her wrists reaches my nose and I inhale deeply.
Her voice is soft and thoughtful. “Looking across the Lough you never know what people’s lives are like on the other side. How different we all are. All the things we hide. The feelings we try not to have. The yearnings we suppress.”
Her warm breath leaves a cloudy mist on the window where I stood a few minutes ago stretched against the glass.....