No Turning Back

Frederick
Posts: 173
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 11:35 pm

No Turning Back

Post by Frederick »

Sharon West dug her trembling hands into her overcoat pocket and pulled out her last cigarette. Was it the cold February drizzle, the biting wind, or was it, more likely, straight nerves? She drew heavily on it, and started coughing after about ten seconds. Things had been going downhill for the past three years, culminating in the breakdown of her relationship with Gary, but never in her wildest dreams would she ever have imagined herself standing on the edge of a windswept cliff, west of Beachy Head. She surveyed the famous lighthouse, some four hundred yards to her left. Wherever it was, it had to be a straight drop. It seemed so different in the summer, with carefree couples and children flying their kites. She'd rehearsed the scene many times in her mind but even now, as she looked out over the English Channel, her stomach tied itself in knots. At first it wasn't too bad. Surely it wouldn't have been too difficult to get another job, and anyway, all she had to do was to keep up the minimum repayments. And what the heck - Christmas was a time for giving! It had been perilously easy to let things get out of control. That's when the letters started arriving. First the bank manager wanting do discuss an unauthorised overdraft, then bounced cheques, then credit companies, each letter getting nastier and more threatening than the previous one. In the end, she realised there was no way out, and nobody wanted to know. Citizens Advice? Bloody joke! Wisdom on hindsight, just rubbing salt into an open wound. Towards the end, she was crying and laughing at the same time as she totalled up the bills. For £13,208.74 she would have been able to but a very nice car. Well there was no car, no Caribbean holiday - nothing! Just paying the minimum rate, which would be all she could hope for, she calculated it would take her well into retirement. Assuming, that was, that she could actually manage to find a job. She organised evertyhing, including the thick brown envelope, now dog-eared through constant handling. She'd checked it and rechecked it a dozen times before finally sealing it with thick brown adhesive tape. It could be years, if ever, before it was found. She smiled briefly, thinking of the far less dramatic ways there were of reaching the same goal, but she felt it appropriate, as it was here that she and Gary had first met.

She looked down at the grey, dismal, sea, angry and cold, pounding away at the chalk cliffs, waiting impatiently to claim anything that came it's way. One, two three steps: she was now right on the edge - now was the point of no return. Hands trembling, suddenly a gust of wind ripped the envelope from her hands before she was ready. Instinctively she leant forward, craning her neck as it blew erratically down, down, down. she began loosing her footing and screamed out. In an instant, strong, powerful arms pulled her back a safe distance. Who would ever have thought that anyone would give a fig about her, yet here she was in the arms of Kevin, a reformed alcoholic, whom she had met at the clinic. They somehow gave each other the strength to carry on. With coarse, heavy hands, and a ruddy, weather-beaten face, at seventeen stone, he was certainly no Adonis, but he was there when she needed him, and that was all that mattered. He held her firmly, yet compassionately in his arms as she stood trembling in the wind. He smiled at her reassuringly, his bloodshot eyes penetrating her. Kissing her gently on the top of her head, he wiped away a tear as it trickled down her cheek. She ventured a weak smile in return.

"We both know what this means, don't we?" She nodded. Takin a deep breath, she looked out to sea a last time. Slowly making their way back to the car hand in hand, she realised there was a future.

"It's over - no more credit cards, store cards, or anything. Together we'll beat this. No turning back."
In HIM I place my trust.
lady cop
Posts: 14744
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:00 pm

No Turning Back

Post by lady cop »

Frederick, are you the author? it's quite good. :)
Frederick
Posts: 173
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 11:35 pm

No Turning Back

Post by Frederick »

Yes, anything you see posted is all my own work. I tend to put a lot of me in my mss. without realising. At Beachy Head, a notorious suiside spot in Eastbourne, U.K. there was a Samaritans anti-suicide poster.
In HIM I place my trust.
lady cop
Posts: 14744
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:00 pm

No Turning Back

Post by lady cop »

well i like it, it's rather heathcliff....you have to give us more!
Frederick
Posts: 173
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 11:35 pm

No Turning Back

Post by Frederick »

lady cop wrote: well i like it, it's rather heathcliff....you have to give us more!
Thank you. A few years back, with the help of my late father, I was making a short film about the South Downs Way, a series of bridleways and footpaths that run along the ridge of the South Downs, and have been so for thousands of years, a distance of about 100 miles, although by the time you take into account the undulating hills, it's closer to 120 miles.

Just outside Eastbourne, at the start of the Downs, there used to be a shelter which has since been burnt down by vandals. On the side of the shelter was a full sized poster, pleading with people not to take their own lives, but to phone The Samaritans first, before taking a five-second flight to nowhere. (About 630'). Beachy Head is a notorious suicide point, where an average of between twenty to thirty bodies are fished out of the sea every year. How many more are lost forever is anybody's guess. I never gave it much thought until I looked into it a bit deeper, and then it really affecteded me.

I'm not sure whether or not you have similar organisations there, but in the '50's a young cleric by the name of Chad Varah was asked to conduct the funeral of a young girl at short notice. Asked why it was being done in unconsecrated ground, he was told it was because the young girl had taken her own life. It transpired that this poor, wretched girl, on experiencing her first period, was convinced she was dying from V.D. and that God was punishing her. With nobody to turn to, in her mind, the shame was too much. So moved and profoundly affected by this story was he, that as Chad prayed for her, he said:"Little girl, I don't know who you are, but you have changed my life forever." He was then transferred to South London where, still deeply troubled by what had transpired, and on discovering that three people per week were, on average taking their own lives, he set about establishing a help line so that people could talk to somebody on the other end of the phone. Within days, the calls came through so rapidly that he was, reluctantly, forced to accept the help of others, and had to admit that he couldn't cope singlehandedly. Fast-forward to 2006, there are now Samaritan organisations all over the country and, I believe, abroad. They are manned twenty-four hours a day by voulenteers. I could pick up the phone at 3am Christmas morning, and somebody, somewhere, will listen without any form of condemnation.

The action of one little girl has changed the life of not just one, but countless number of people who's last link is an annonymous voice at the other end of a telephone number. The voulenteers who man these stations twenty-four hours a day have my greatest and most heartfelt respect and admiration - I know I couldn't do it.

To anybody even entertaining the idea of taking their own life, I beg of them, please - think again. Life may throw up unsurmountable problems, but once you take that final step, you'll never know whether the answer was just around the corner. I have known people, including members of my own family, who have taken that final plunge, and you will not believe just how much it screws up the lives of everybody round them, not just family members, but work colleagues who think"If only I'd phoned. If only..."

I'm sorry if I come across a bit heavy!
In HIM I place my trust.

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