I stand a toe’s length from softly lapping water, staring across the lake. On the far side, hills rise in a melody of sheep dotted green sward and plough, golden cereals and shady woodlands, with the glint of the postbus making its way along the winding lane; appearing, disappearing, between the hedgerows. I trace its route from the lake side hamlet to the hilltop farm. There it will turn back. Something I’m afraid to do. For behind me lies my shadow.
And in my shadow, lies my past. Snuffed out. The bright light that took me to the top, that brought me love, laughter and celebrity amongst my peers. That singled me out as the one to be emulated, the one to follow, the one who had it all. And lost it all. Through my own reckless vanity, greed and stupidity. Making enemies of my friends. Driven to insane decisions that only hastened my downfall.
Until she was all that I had left. Beautiful, yes. Staying with me to the end, her true beauty in her heart. Until I broke that, too. But I would not let her leave. I could not let her leave. And the only way to stop her was to kill her. Strong hands taking her last breath. Weeping over her body. Laying her on our bed. Gently. Lovingly. Now serene; waiting to be found. And walking away, across the wildflower meadow.
Is it courage? Is it fear? I take more steps forward, feeling the chill of the lake. As sharply as cold steel. And I never turn; never look back, at my shadow.