She came in search of her mother’s bones. By boat, ten days telling tales to the crew about her purpose. This morning she was up at dawn, breakfast bagged, blanketed against the chill, leaving nervously, peacefully the cheap seaside hotel.
By seven she was traversing the cliff path across the headland. She remembered how her childhood knees were badges of her constant falls, changing shape and colour, healing and re-emerging. It was then that the way to the cave cut across her path, as the villagers had described, and she dropped towards the water.
Inroads into family history following her mothers’s disappearance had revealed her Spanish roots. It made sense of her jet black hair and struggle with the English dampness. Her life of giving that masked an ache.
The sea now lapped at her ankles. She climbed towards the cave, waves amplified in their song, white surf washing up to this secret tomb as if to say, “She’s not here, she is gone.”
However, we are animal, not all spirit – and to see the dead, to touch the emptied skin, is to know how the body is woven into earth and sky. Now she was crouching over he body, making sense of the story that had gripped her for so long. There was no doubt, the bones must stay. And for who-knows-how-long she lay bare-skinned on the shore where the waves were breaking towards the cave, as though held herself between life and death, gravity and what leads us to seek release.
Breakfast was most ordinary, yet sacred; unspoken moments of knowing she was meeting her mother for the first time. Then, belly full, arms empty, she ascended the cliff and strode back towards the village, into life.