The Truth of the Matter
Geoff’s overcoat bursts open and flaps like a dowdy sail around his knees. He attempts to gather it in with his free hand, but the wind is too strong and he gives up. Jane and he are now only fifty yards apart.
Across the bay, Jane can see the robotic beam of light from the southern lighthouse, flashing its warning to ships foolish enough to come too close to the black jagged rocks that have caused the demise of so many vessels.
Now the two of them are very close. The sound of Geoff’s footsteps is borne away on the wind; she does not hear his final approach.
He is a tall man, handsome in a careworn way. Under the brim of his fedora, he looks a little distracted, a little vague.
In the distance, a ferry sounds its horn, a mournful clamour on such a sombre day. The wind carries the noise of the horn across the bay and into Jane’s ears. She can see the small knot of people at the quayside, waving their loved ones goodbye.
A fresh eddy of wind lifts up Geoff’s hat, revealing a head of vigorous grey hair. He hastily restores it to his head and draws ever nearer to her. He would do anything to avoid this. He sees that she has a piece of paper in her closed fist and he trembles. It is the note he left for her at lunchtime at the reception area of her employer.
Jane turns to look at him. Her gaze is steady but uncompromising. She speaks evenly, her words tossed by the wind into the atmosphere, yet he hears her as if she has been shouting at him through a megaphone.
‘I thought it was you.’
Geoff nods dumbly.
‘She’s found out, then?’