He stood upon a steep promontory, staring out at the sea. Below him he could hear the crashing of waves as they hurtled into the steep rocks, splashing their way into the coastline, and eroding it as they had for countless millennia.
Behind him, he heard a tune drifting up on the wind that reminded him of ice cream and holding the hand of his mother. The same hand that he had held seven years ago when she died. He corrected himself in his head; it was eight years ago – how time flew!
Since that day he had found himself coming to this spot more and more. It had always been his favourite place for thinking and making decisions. The air was fresh, and as his mother would always say, ‘It blows away the cobwebs’.
He smiled. When he was a child he used to imagine adults with cobwebs attached to their ears, which would only blow away in a stiff breeze.
His mother had always helped him with working things out and making choices, from the subjects he took at A-Level, to whether he should take the apprenticeship or go to University. And then there was the decision about what to do, if anything, after the divorce.
He had been shocked, when his wife of three years had filed for divorce, despite the fact that there had never been a great deal of love between them. When he looked back later, he wondered how they could ever have got together. In hindsight it seemed illogical. But then he had learned that life was rarely logical.
Then, as today, he had hiked up to the cliff top to mull over the words of his future ex-wife.
‘I’m going to move back down to my parents with Cassie. I can’t stay here, I’ve no friends and it won’t hurt Cassie what with her not starting school yet.’
He had almost said that it would hurt him though, with Cassie being so far away. With her, some things in life were logical. He contemplated legal action and his mother had pushed it.
‘How can the poor mite grow up without a father?’
But he had decided to let them both go. A court case and animosity between her parents would have done Cassie more harm. And he wasn’t the fighting kind.
He had made that decision from this spot twelve years ago, and although he had no regrets, he still missed Cassie dearly. Especially since her mother had married another man and they had all moved to Australia. He would get out there and see her for real one day.
So now he was here once more to make a decision, one that he had to make on his own, without any help or advice from his mother. And staring out to sea, while seagulls cried in the air above him, he waited for the answer to shake away its cobwebs.