Standing in the doorway staring out into the cold winter night, a man stands leaning against the doorway of his home as the rain lashes against his face.
Who is he? What is he? The wind picking up now causing the rain to swirl in wild patterns only seen with the bright glow off the tall street lamp. Just staring, gazing at the dance of the rain. Is it his turn to dance? The night sky can’t be seen. Clouds cover the small town like a shield against the outside world. Is it there to keep him in or to stop him seeing the outside world. But still he cannot move. Just standing there.
At the top of the garden driveway a black cat runs by. It Stops. It senses something. It’s head turns suddenly. Staring straight at the man it holds its gaze. The man stares back. The cat turns slowly and then leaps, back over the garden wall, between the bushes and gone. The man bows his head. Pulling his coat collar up as a chill suddenly runs through his body. Can’t stay here forever. Make a choice. Decide.
He hears it again. All night. The sound that awoke him in the middle of his deep sleep. The familiar sound he has heard many nights before. The sounds he has tried to ignore. But he knows now. He understands what it is. Crying out to him he hears the call of the ocean. The waves crashing off the harbour rocks in the near distance. The wind howling now. The butterflies in his stomach buzzing around in tune with the night.
With a deep sigh he looks up into the sky his eyes blinking as the rain pelts his eyes he steps off the porch doorway and into the night. Walking steady up the driveway he surveys his surroundings and gets another chill. Nearing the top of the garden and away from the doorway he feels the chill getting stronger. Out through the driveway entrance he stops and stares up at the bright street lamp. It flickers as the wind moves through the air. The bright light gives him a warm sense of comfort. He knows this light. It’s been with him for a long time now.
He turns his head right and looks down the hill towards to small beach where the cries of the ocean still call him. He looks back at the doorway of his home. Tentatively he starts taking the first steps towards the beach and the unknown.
Unseen by the man as he walks past a parked car the black cat with its bright eyes watches him walk by and crouches down without making a sound.
Louder now the crashing waves start to give him as uneasy feeling of fear.
But yet he has to go. Keep walking, keep moving, step by step, wind stronger, rain harder, mind racing, he must not stop. Don’t look back now. As he approaches the road that divides the beach from the houses he passed, he stops to take in the enormity of his next move. There it is. The harbour pier standing firm, waiting like a steaming train waiting for the whistle to blow. All aboard he hears in his head. A large wave comes crashing over it’s top as the white spray flies through the air. The smell of the ocean consumes his nostrils. Looking left and right he crosses the road and heads for the pier. As he arrives at the steps up to the pier he thinks, Ok. No going back now.
Step by step he reaches the top. The wind now unleashing a torrent of abuse against his face. The ocean spray making his wet clothing feel even colder against his shivering body.
He sees the dim light at the end of the pier. A guiding light for returning fishermen. Was it his guide? But he was not returning. He was being called out to it. Not back in. Go to it. He moves. His eyes squinting as the wind and rain battles to shut them totally. Now under the dim light he looks up into the dark night once more as an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty nearly takes his legs from beneath him. Steady now. Hold firm. With one big deep breath he summons up the courage and walks over to the edge of the pier. The storm is unforgiving now. His legs shaking in this battle of wills.
Shifting closer and closer to the pier’s edge his feet now level with the edge he stops.
Time to decide. Last chance. Has he got the will to leap? Can he take this last step into the unknown?
Looking back across the road and up the hill he can just about see the bright street lamp still flickering in the night sky. Calling him back to safety, back home, back to where he has been all his life, back to the security of his ordinary life. “We’re here”, the street lamp calls. “We are still here if you want to come home”. Nearly turning he stands firm.
Shaking off his soaking coat, arms out reached and head looking up to the sky he shouts into the dark stormy night. “I’m here”. I’m not going home. Is this want you want”. The raging ocean screams back “ No. Is this what you want”.
With eyes wide shut he leaps.
The rain has stopped as dark skies clear. The wind has died. The ocean is still. The night is calm.
The black cat struts up to the end of the pier and gazes out into the ocean calm.
It curls its tail and sits where a man once stood.