photo by Ron Co
Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
chapter 10 from Dark Angel Returns
The suitcase was open, empty. The wardrobe door was open, her clothes still on the hangers. Cam stood between them, arms folded. She hadn’t told anyone yet that she was leaving. Couldn’t bring herself to do it at breakfast and now Crystal and Melva were at their schools, Doug and Dan were in the shed, working on a car …… She should have told Dan last night. It was a perfect opportunity to do so. But she just couldn’t.
She closed the wardrobe door, put the suitcase back under the bed. Tell them tonight, she promised herself. And spend the day with Doug and Dan in the shed. Or, she smiled as Maggie came bounding to greet her as soon as she stepped onto the verandah, she could go for one last swim in the sea. Since Dan taught her how, she’d been swimming almost every day, taking Maggie for a walk to the beach with her.
They took the track that followed the shore, Maggie bouncing ahead of her. Walked past Lucy’s shack, past the memory of Dan and Lucy parked there in Dan’s ute that night when she watched and knew there was no point in hanging around. What she saw and heard answered the question she had been biding her time to ask of Dan. Just as well she had not approached him and made a fool of herself.
The track led down to the beach, white sand hot underfoot, the sea emerald green in the shallows, cobalt blue in the deep, the sky azure blue. Just a wisp of a breeze, cool on the skin. Maggie hurtled into the water. Cam paused to look around, absorb it all to take and keep with her.
On the water’s edge she paused, watched a wave come rushing towards her, spread itself in a white sparkle of foam along the sand and around her toes. The wind had picked up from the west, turning a calm sea into rolling waves surfing in to shore. Such energy, such ….. exhilaration. The charging waves, the heat, the roar, the infinity of blue stretching from her toes out across the water and into the sky … it felt weird, the feeling she was feeling. Like she was this energy, she had this power. She walked into the approaching wave and dived into it, let it lift and carry her. Without thinking, without agonising, a decision rolled effortlessly along with the waves.
No more looking and longing for romantic love. It always ended badly. Better that Dan loved her as a big brother and would always love her. She’d always be his little sister, nothing could change that. Better to have the fatherly love of Doug and Father Doohan, the motherly love of Thelma and Melva, the sisterly love of Crystal, Maggie, Beth and Lily.
On the way back from the beach, she bounced along the track almost as much as Maggie. She was still leaving tomorrow but she was not running away this time. She’d be back to visit her Mundoo family and there’d be more swims in the sea and walks on the beach with Maggie. She was going back to Thelma’s to work. She was good at massage. There must be lots of people who needed the kind of soothing, relaxing touch that Lily said she had. But she wouldn’t have sex with the clients and she would never again fall in love with one.
Dan’s ute was not in the yard when they got back. Cam walked into the shed. She would tell Doug about her plans. He would be the first to know what she’d decided.
Doug was at the bench. He turned as she opened the door. “Ahh …. Cam …. there you are,” he said. She could tell something was wrong. “Dan’s just left. Taking Lucy to the city. Jim’s been shot.”