The climb to the cliff was harder going than she remembered. There was a time when she had run effortlessly up the grassy path and, reaching the top, had flung out her arms to the horizon and thrown back her head with laughter. The waves below had seemed to echo her laugh, flinging themselves at the base of the cliff, in a joyful, foaming riot.
In those days, she had believed in the future, expected things. Then life had begun its attack; the infection in her throat had scarred her vocal cords and taken the beauty from her voice, destroying dreams of singing; love had grown, for the gentle young man who had been her friend through her illness, and the new dream, of a life together, was shattered when he shyly introduced her to his fiance.
She had run away, then, determined to make a life for herself in the entertainment industry. While working as a dresser on a movie set, she had met a handsome stunt double, whose devil-may-care personality had dazzled her. Marriage to him had been rocky and, when he ran off with the star of his latest picture, it was almost a relief.
For three years, she had struggled to support her two children on her earnings as a studio seamstress. In the fourth year, her ex-husband's big break had come and his new wealth had paid for the expensive lawyers who took the children away from her. Somehow, she had pulled herself up from the depths and continued, eventually turning her talent for design into a business of her own.
Her pride, in the hard-won success of her business, was about to be snatched from her. Her accountant, business manager and sometime lover had neglected to file the proper tax returns. For almost eighteen years, he had been skimming the difference from her business and banking it, somewhere off-shore. Now he, too, was somewhere off-shore and the IRS had stepped in to claim everything that was hers. There would be an auction next month. She had fled, up the California coast to Oregon, where she had started. Here, at Yaquina Head, she would find some sort of comfort; perhaps the kind the ocean had to offer.
Just below the crest, she stopped, gazing over the bit of hill before her at the distant headland, with its banks of clouds lying just inland – up there was the mouth of the great Columbia. Ahead was her own private baylette, not more than 30 feet across, filled with the jagged teeth of ancient rocks and the dancing foam of waves. There would be a brutal moment or two, but it would be quickly over, her bay would receive her like the open arms of the sea. She took the last dozen steps to the edge.
She could hear the ocean's laughter, at her back, as she started down the hill. Even the sea had turned against her; all it offered was a messy splatter on the rocky beach. She might not even die, but lay there for hours, waiting for death.
The tide was out.
The prompt for FWE for12/28/2012, in the absence of our new mom, Andrea, is disappointment. Be certain to include "FWE Disappointment" in your title, tag with FWE, and post to Gather Writing Essential.