Gazing out over the choppy waves of the North Sea, Rhianon knew that today would be the starting point. A sense deep inside her told her that what she was about to was right, a sense that had been with her since childhood. But even though she knew that doing this would fix everything, Rhianon’s heart felt heavy at the thought of all the things she had left behind and, as if the ache in her chest spread to the muscles in her neck, her head fell forward, once wandering eyes staring back at her from the puddle at her feet.
The emptiness of her eyes scared her and automatically her head snapped up, eyes once again roaming across the horizon, escaping from the horror that lay only five feet away.
A lonely cry alerted Rhianon to the presence of a baby seagull, abandoned in its nest by its mother as she searched for food. This confused Rhianon as she remembered, from what seemed like years ago, her science teacher describing the intricate ways of birds and how a chick was never left alone, especially one so young as this one.
She caught sight of a lone black shape in the distant sky and once again, her instinct told her something she knew to be true. Inside her head Rhianon was screaming, “Where are you?! How could you just fly off without a backward glance? You’re its father! It needs you! It can’t survive without you! Come BACK!” but she daren’t open her mouth, else she broke yet another calm atmosphere; destroyed something else that wasn’t hers to destroy.
Rhianon had made a pact with herself as she sat by herself on the train from Waverly Station. No longer would she invoke the harsh feelings of disappointment and failure that her mother seemed to suffer from so much whilst Rhianon was around. No more would her stepfather give her disapproving glances across the dinner table as she glared at the abomination that he had married.
As the train had slowed, Rhianon had silently agreed to fulfil her pact that day with all the strangers bustling past her, surrounding her, staring at the lone teenager shouldering a huge khaki backpack - filled with scrunched newspaper balls, her sleeping bag and all the spare food she had managed to scrounge from the flat in Livingstone.
Now, standing so close to her goal, Rhianon felt the strangest feeling build up inside of her. It was one of such happiness and yet something else lingered on the sidelines – a touch of excitement and complete content. For the first time in her life, Rhianon experienced a sense of achievement.
She opened her mouth and let the sea air flow through her mouth, down her throat, filling her lungs with a freshness for which she had yearned for so long. A clarity came over her and, adjusting her position ever so slightly, Rhianon let her meagre supplies slip off her shoulders and leant them against a scraggly bush poking through the bare ground a hundred metres or so away from her final destination.
Rhianon lifted her head once more and slowly walked forward until she could feel the crumbling rock under her feet, falling down, down, down into the black abyss that was ever present just out of Rhianon’s sight. Once more, Rhianon filled her body with the sea breeze gusting in from the North, her hair blowing back behind her, as if trying to escape the fate that was rapidly approaching; the fate that Rhianon was willing to embrace with all her heart.
One more step and suddenly Rhianon was following the rocks before her except she wasn’t falling. Oh no. She was flying with the seagulls into the distant horizon, swimming with the dolphins into the deepest blue of the ocean, crawling with the crabs along the pebbled shoreline even before she hit the boulders waiting for her at the bottom of the cliff.
* * * * *
It was four days before Rhianon’s family noticed that the young girl had run away from home and it was on the same day, approximately two hours later, that three hikers spotted her body sprawled across the jagged rocks that lay at the bottom of the steepest cliff in that area. The local police had concluded early into the investigation that it could be nothing other than suicide – the lack of any indication that another human had been there and the backpack found at the top of the cliff allowed no other explanation.
However her family, to all those who observed them, appeared to be unconcerned with the mental state of their daughter that had quite probably troubled her for a number of years. Not because they didn’t care but from that day on, all the problems and complications in their lives had simply disappeared.