When he stepped out onto the deck that morning
the sea was drowning the birds with a constant roar
of blown noise carried on the wind towards the house—
warning—as if he needed to be told—of turbulence and
passion and rage and who knew what other strains to come.
It was his morning habit to step outside early and listen
to the harmonies of larks and blackbirds calling in the trees around
while he enjoyed the last of his breakfast tea and the day not yet spoiled
by any intrusion, but even this small normality was to be denied because
the only sound breaking over the volume of the waves was the shock blast
of a train coming out of the north unannounced like a gunshot in a silent night—
beating a rhythm of pure mockery—Going away, Going away, Going away—
for as long as it took to pass the back fence and be gone, fading into the distance
as the sea noise won back supremacy. He tipped his tea over the rail and turned
and stepped inside and closed the door in disgust. Upstairs she had the hairdryer
going. Still there was no singing to be heard. Her suitcase stood ready in the hall.