I don’t know why I’m here.
The wind was blowing, making the grass hiss and whisper all around me. I lifted my knee and scratched at an itch there. I looked to the sky, blue on blue. I took a deep breath tasting the cool, clear air.
I saw a shape emerge from the trees at the bottom of the hill. I instantly recognized the form and walk of Ewen, bent against the press of the wind, as he made his trudging way up the hill towards me.
I stared over the lip of the hill and off into the horizon, where the sea shone against the immutable sky. It was almost imperceptible at this distance, but occasionally I saw a small jet of mist shoot from the water into the sky, accompanied by a hulking dark form.
Ewen reached me. I listened to his laboured breathing as he sat heavily beside me. He tugged his jacket tight around his shoulders and followed my gaze out toward the sea.
We sat in silence for some time, listening to the susurrus of the grass, feeling the chill of the ocean air on our faces. A couple of seagulls passed overhead, their cacophonous calls to each other piercing the quiet. Ewen’s breath was irregular, sometimes inhaling, pausing, then sighing. I could tell he was trying to work up the nerve to speak.
“Why am I here, Ewen?” I asked, breaking the silence.
He sighed again. “Thea… I’m leaving, you know.”
“Yes,” I replied. “I knew that.”
“Ah.” He replied. “To be honest, I thought you’d be more broken up about it.”
I took a deep breath. “I’ve been ‘broken up’ over you for most of my adult life,” I replied, trying to keep my voice calm. “I think we’re both beyond such things.”
The silence descended again. Ewen’s hands twitched in his lap, unable to sit still.
“Are you not at all upset?” He asked quietly. “I thought of all people…”
I inhaled sharply and had to fight off a wave of anger which swept over me. “I think you need to stop telling me how I should feel,” I said through gritted teeth. “I’ve been here, waiting for years for you to decide how you feel about me. I’ve made myself miserable waiting for you, while you go and do whatever pleases you, content that I will always be there to pick you up when you deign to give any thought to me.” I paused. “I’m sorry, Ewen, but it’s too late now. I’m done.”
After a few moments, Ewen stood. “So that’s how you feel,” He said. “I had hoped that… well, never mind.”
He took a few steps then paused again. “I wish you would think well of me,” he said. “Your esteem of me is important–”
“You have used me too much,” I hissed. “And I will be happy to see you gone from my life.”
I glared at him for a moment more, then he turned his back to me and walked away. I watched him traverse the path he had taken, back down the hill to the trees, where he disappeared.
I looked back up to the glittering horizon. A whale breached, causing white foam to spray into the sky. I breathed the sea air. I heard another seagull’s call. The chill highlighted a tear which rolled down my cheek.
I smiled. I was glad to be there.