It’s always the same dream.
I’m standing on a cliff top, about fifty yards away from the edge of a sheer drop down to a stretch of jagged rocks. I can’t see the rocks, but I always know they are there, and can hear the sea booming as it crashes against them time and time again.
I can feel the springy grass beneath my feet, see the gulls wheeling above me and feel the tingle of spray on my cheeks. Clouds are scudding across the sky, and the cliff top is alternately bathed in bright sunshine and shadows.
And then this force will begin to push me towards the edge of the precipice. After being shunted unwillingly forward for a couple of yards, I throw myself down on the grass, hoping this will halt my progress towards the cliff edge.
But then I begin to roll along the grass, slowly at first but then more quickly.
I then twist round, so that the force is pushing only against my head, but the force circles round me and I can feel its icy grip on my ankles as it pulls me towards the edge. As my feet disappear over the edge and the rest of my body begins to follow I scream and scream……… and then wake, drenched in sweat, lying horizontally across the bed.
This time the dream has been more vivid than ever, and when I wake I am cold and damp. I lie there for a few minutes, shivering and trying to still my racing heart.
I need to get myself some help, I think. I’ll have a complete breakdown if this goes on. It’s already causing a problem between John and me; well, in reality it’s making the existing problem between us even worse.
We can’t go on like this, he said last night. And he’s right.
My bones ache and my head throbs. I push myself towards the side of the bed to get some painkillers from the bedside cabinet. The sheets feel stiff and scratchy, so scratchy that my palms feel sore. I lift my hands and see that my fingers are bloody and swollen, with fingernails torn away. How can I have done this?
At that moment, the narrow ledge that has broken my fall halfway down the cliff face begins to crumble away, and I hurtle towards the rocks below me.
The last thing I see is my husband’s white face peering over the edge of the cliff, and over his shoulder, the triumphant expression on the face of my best friend.