Posted: 21 February 2009
Word Count: 507
Summary: I thought I'd try a different ending. Any comments appreciated
Colin stood at the edge of the cliff, his body sagged in a cameo of misery. How in God’s name had it come to this. One moment a happy secure family life with Fiona, his son and daughter, now nothing.
Last night was awful. The usual friendly pre-meal chat and dram with Fiona had become two then three as voices raised, the argument grew heated, as previously hidden resentments surfaced.
Horrible things had been said but he’d no idea how deeply Fiona blamed him for their children leaving home. She accused him of being always on their backs, always pushing them, never celebrating their successes, never sitting down and really listening to them, never seeing what fine young people they’d become.
First Jamie had stormed out of the house saying,
‘That’s it! I’ve had enough, I’m off for good.’
Then Hazel said that she needed some time away, to find herself. She’d plans but did not want to discuss them. Fiona had plead with both to keep in touch and call anytime for help but Colin had heard nothing since.
When he woke the bed beside him was cold. Colin looked out of the window. The mini and Fiona were gone.
Colin stepped forward, then paused as a flicker of movement caught his eye. He gazed in wonder as the little red and gold birds fluttered to and fro, eating black thistle seeds, the gold crests were back. He looked up and noticed the beauty of the new day. The Eastern sky was now a warming pink, fading from the crimson streaked dawn. The mountains were draped in Autumn’s colours. The air was chill and pure as inhaling the finest wine.
He stood there for a long time then turned and walked home.
As Colin reached the back door Fiona’s car swept up the drive. He rushed to hold her then stopped, seeing the sheer joy on her face as Hazel climbed out. She’d returned from the Buddhist retreat to let them know she was safe and very happy.
Later that day the door crashed open and a familiar voice yelled,
‘Hi, its me, I’m back.’
Deeply tanned from his time in the Austrian Alps where he had been teaching skiing and mountaineering, Jamie also had come home for the celebrations. Colin had completely forgotten it was his 50th Birthday.
Colin sat, humbled, quiet at the table. He basked in the laughter and chat accompanied by delicious food and drink. Mentally he thanked God for his fortune. They had little money but the sheer enjoyment in each other’s company, the deep love and caring which they shared, was worth more than all the treasures of the earth.
Colin shivered and woke. He was at the edge of the cliff. The goldfinch were gone. The sun was dipping behind him. He took one step forward then threw himself far out over the cliff. As he tumbled down towards the deep, blue-green sea he smiled. Colin yearned to go home.
Ian MacMillan, Fernbank,. 14 2 2009 499 words
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