by Anne Scott
The wind whipped and tossed at her lustrous dark hair as Anna walked the length of the deck to her personal space at the pinewood table that overlooked the sea. She lowered her gazed to the jutted and jagged rocks and watched the new tide push in, smash itself at the foot of the cliff and recede, the ocean’s vibration thundering in her ears as ozone-scented spray sprinkled her face.
Peter her husband, found his peace in the space of the neighbouring cliffs tops, striding across them with their dogs, Clara and Ruff. Balls and sticks were sent spinning to eager mouths. The dogs raced and fetched, barked and panted, searched and sniffed at bushes and trees. Local creatures scurried for their lives as these adventurous interlopers frolicked in their newborn freedom.
The house, their home, stood wide open to the light and the sea-blown air; shutters and doors flung back. Windows stood open. Wind swept the scent of ozone through the house, cleansing and renewing every floor, wall and ceiling, sweeping through cupboards and dark places. It flew over chairs and cushions; blew curtains and blinds. It shook away captured nightmares and frightened the ghostly echoes that still hovered from the past.
No longer did the pages of the book ensnare them. Words that had held them captive from page to page – chapter to chapter, now freed them. The old woman had died early that morning, her story clutched to her breast. Snared inside the turgid pages of the book, her characters were destined to relive their ordeals again and again as each new reader opened the book and turned its pages. But the anger, bitterness and demented horrors captured by the old woman in her writing departed with her. Now at last her characters were released from the twisted narrative to find freedom in living existence.
It seems that sometimes, in miraculous moments, the universal mystery, offers the gift of release.
published 2 June 2013