It is just before half past six, but already one or two of the small handfuls of shops are beginning to open their shutters. This in itself is bizarre, but I think nothing of it as I arrive at the harbour front, wagering that seeing as it is Friday – nearly the weekend ­– the people of Giant’s Causeway Island are jovial and want to get the last working day over with so they can enjoy a two day break.
    That’s another thing about the island: nothing, absolutely nothing, is open on Saturdays or Sundays. Actually, I lie. The church is open then. But, as I you may or may not have deduced, I am not particularly comfortable visiting it, especially during a crisis in which, say, I have run out of milk or urgently need to purchase some chocolate-based product to pull me from the depths of my drowning. I have no problem admitting to being one of God’s children, no problem explaining that He loves me like his own daughter. The problem I have is that I’m struggling to believe that he loved Sam enough, because if he didn’t, would he not have kept him from going out with the trawler guys last November?  
    Once again, I have successfully managed to work myself into a spiral of destructive torment, one from which it feels whilst I’m experiencing it inescapable, like being trapped in a whirlwind or a sandstorm or inside the waves of a tsunami. Having been heading for the harbour wall, I am now too dizzy to even contemplate walking the thirty steps to the top of it. Sucking deep lung-fulls of air in through my nose I attempt to calm the beast that rages inside my rib cage. In, out, two three; in, out, two three; in, out –

            I am halted mid-rhythm by a cautious sound that, through my tunnelled ears sounds like a mixture between a muted foghorn and an echoed plea. “Are you alright?” asks the voice; it takes me a few seconds to immerse myself into reality and leave behind my panic. With a last, embarrassed breath inwards I raise my head and let my eyes settle on a pair of lips, crimson and delicate and genuine, hooked into a cosy smile upon her kind face.

            My befuddled expression speaks more words than I am able, and she repeats her question, this time kneeling down on one slender, jeans-covered knee so that her eyes, pale blue and wistful, stare into mine as if she is trying to discover my secrets. I feel a confusing concoction of self-consciousness and trust and, most bizarrely, deja-vu. I am more than positive that I have not seen this person before. And do you know how I know? Because my memory is what they’re calling photographic these days, and it has an infuriating habit of recording faces and names to my brain before cataloguing them under the subtitles of names and faces and dates and countries and cities and birth dates and…you get the idea. 

The End

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