Brian went home every day the same, until he found his wife gone and a brief note on the kitchen table. He had never noticed anything wrong. In fact he had never noticed anything, and that was where he’d been wrong.
He got out of his car and walked to the front of the house. He was not happy about the meeting. He did not think he could talk her round. He liked her very much. He knew she liked him. But she seemed too determined to build on this land and he was too determined to prevent that.
She was standing on the lawn. As he approached he could see her nervousness, but also her determination. They exchanged a kiss.
“Will you withdraw the application?”
“Will you withdraw your opposition?”
It was then, at that very point, that one of them should have laughed. Better if they had both laughed. But neither did. Instead, somehow, there was the sound of a relationship breaking.
He turned and walked away. He felt his eyes wet. He turned once to look back. She had not moved. There was something in her face he could not read at that distance. Something – and tears.
There was a cottage high up and alone on the moor. It looked out through a dip. The view plunged down to the spread of the plain, or up into the width of the sky and the moving clouds. It came up for sale. A man wanted to buy it but he hadn’t the cash, not nearly. One day he was up there when he met another man. He also wanted to buy it but hadn’t enough. So now they live there together.
Helena was feeling very ill as she got out of the taxi, walked into A&E. A black woman behind the reception desk was busy with paper work. Her brow was furrowed, she looked stressed. Helena had to wait for a minute or two. She was not sure she could stand any longer. Then the woman looked up and smiled. She was tired but she still made the effort. Helena explained how she felt. The woman told her to sit down. She was kind. She said she would call a doctor. And she did. And Helena sat down. Then the next patient appeared at reception. And the next. And so on. The doctor got the message and was on his way. Then there was an emergency heart failure. He got diverted then distracted. It took two hours to sort the problem. During this time the woman remembered Helena three times and called again. The doctor remembered Helena five times including the three calls. All Helena did was die.