I want to remember everything about today. The photographs won’t do it justice. They never do but I am always happy, at that moment of pressing the shutter. I was sitting on a rock at Land’s End for some time. The path there was clear but it was cordoned off with signs ‘Danger! Steep cliffs’ etc. but I went there anyway and that was one of the best things I have done. It was beautiful. Cliffs, rocks covered in moss, sculpture by nature that has stood as it is for years. All the colours of yellow, mint green, grey, red, all the greens, muted and breathing. The sound of the sea, the waves, the mist.
I thought about killing myself all morning. It was like the sentence was stuck in my head and I couldn’t understand why. I have gotten away, I am finally in Cornwall. I have looked forward to coming here so much. I felt very fragile when I was walking around the visitors’ centre at Land’s End. My insides ached but I wanted to get on a walking path as soon as possible. I found my way to those cliffs very nearby and I could have done it, jump off the cliffs at Land’s End but I didn’t. My instincts kicked in. I was terrified of slipping and falling. I don’t want to kill myself. But I don’t want to be in pain anymore. I just don’t know, or don’t remember, what it is like to not be in pain. Some kind of anguish or melancholy has always been lurking around me. It would or will, the choice of words depending on how hopeful I am, take time to get used to being without pain. I doubt I would be able to plunge into happiness even if it was presented to me.
I don’t think anyone will want to fall in love with me when they find out about all this pain.
The steps from Minack Theatre to Porthcurno beach were steep and exhilarating. Sea in the shades of emerald green and mint, sandy beach, rocks and cliffs. And all around mist and waves, wind. I felt like it was a present that was given to me, the way I found there, the whole journey down those steep steps and just the chance of being there. It was so beautiful. I was standing on some rocks having just taken a photograph of the crashing waves (a cliché but I couldn’t resist it. That photograph will be mine only.) when an elderly lady came to stand quite close to me, barefoot, waves washing her feet and her hair flowing in the wind. I wondered what her story was. I smiled to her and said ‘It is gorgeous.’ ‘It is.’ she replied.
‘Are they Vikings?’ I hate it when men come up to me and ask stupid questions. I hate it because I feel threatened, I feel the pressure to be nice and to not to hurt his feelings, the pressure to subtly back down from whatever is to follow. This sorry middle-aged man had essentially done nothing wrong. I had climbed up to an edge of a stone fence and was trying to take a photo of the pale blue sea view around St Ives. There were sailing boats, one fishing boat with birds flying above it and a couple of rowing boats. My camera had given me a fright. The light meter had stopped working. I gave up on trying to make it work hoping, praying desperately that it would start working again. I stepped down and saw him. He had come two meters away from me. Slim, weathered, blond bearded man. He was doing something on his phone. I didn’t at first understand what he said and had to say, out of civil politeness, ‘Sorry?’ He then repeated his question. ‘No, they’re not’ I said half laughingly, half shrugging him off. I walked away feeling disturbed and worried. I hoped I had not been too abrupt.
My inner reactions are sometimes disproportionate in relation to actual events, especially around men. I feel threatened, I feel that they are imposing their will on me. Even though the threat might not be there my instinct is to run away, hide or defend myself and it often comes out quite bluntly. I am always so embarrassed of it. Then I feel further threatened when I remember the superiority with which those three people and some others, but especially Tom*, treated me when they noticed that something had hurt me and caused an emotional reaction. The look of glee in their faces. The look of self-importance on Tom’s face. Now I can say it, now I know what it is called, I didn’t know then. I just knew it was wrong and I felt unwell. To my father I quickly became like a stone without personality, as I did to Tom and gradually to Sheila as well. Polite and even, never letting them see how I felt although they would try to get that out of me. They would try to corner me, poke me with their words, snigger at me if they didn’t get what they wanted out of me. All that is in the past but those memories haunt me. I have come across some articles about emotional abuse and I recognise almost all the characteristics in our family life but I had thought it all to be just normal part of imperfect human relationships. Of course I knew deep inside that what happened at home was nasty but I haven’t known the words to describe it.
How can my mind and my heart heal? I sat on a bench and wished that someone would come and hold me. Someone I say but of course it is not just anyone. I know who I mean, I could almost see him but I am not able to call him by his name. It is a silly wish anyway. He doesn’t care about me.
There were three Labradors on the rocky part of the beach in St Ives, swimming, playing fetch and having so much fun. My heart softens every time I see dogs. They are soft, fluffy and sincere. You can hold them and give them kisses. I feel happier and safe when I am petting a dog. I now try to hide it a bit because some people have commented on how much I like dogs as if it was something odd. Maybe it is. Especially some Christians have been so smug about their lives and thinking they have gotten it all right that their comments have been patronizing. I haven’t felt like telling them then that I, as well as my sister and brother, would not be as emotionally stable as I am now without little Kini. Our family would not talk to each other at all without her. But I doubt that they would have wanted to accept that story as true anyway.
I had bought some chocolate fudge earlier and ate it watching the dogs play. They were so happy and I was happy too. The sea was bright blue in the distance, then clear emerald green when it washed to the beach.
St Ives got too crowded and too hot. I took a bus to Hell’s Mouth. It was the time of the midday sun, flat and pale yellow. There were not going to be any photographs to be found. There were Samaritans cards with their helpline number along the fence. A small plane flew back and forth the coastline with a large banner saying ‘Jesus loves every one of you’. If that message can stop someone from committing a suicide where does it leave me? I am a Christian, I know of God’s love and I often don’t want to live anymore. I found a quiet spot where I could still see the cliffs, a little bit in the shade and decided to have a nap there until the bus back to St Ives would come.
I hummed a tune, a couple of bars, that were stuck in my head, a tune of which name I don’t know and I cannot remember hearing. I guess this is how songs are born. I have always wondered that. It rained, drizzled, the sound of the drops was louder than their weight. I had heard a sound of a stream the night before, now heard it again. I found an opening in the midst of bushes and trees that led to a small waterfall, in the midst of tall, lush trees. Trees, the original cathedral of God. And all the time I remembered. My tears were silent, unseen but they drowned me and pinched my insides.
I went to Zennor. It was windy and it drizzled. I cannot tell how beautiful it was, the cliffs, the sea, the black beach. I sang when I was taking the photographs. ‘Sinua sinua rakastan’, it is one of my favourite songs we sing with the choir. As I walked along the coast I sang other songs too. I was soaked but at first I didn’t mind it so much. Then I got tired, I had walked for a couple of hours already and I wish I could remember everything I saw. I made my way to a pub by the road which was also a bus stop. The bus would come in 20minutes so I went in and ordered a cognac. It was there that I met Harry, a big black dog, like an overgrown golden retriever. His owner was drinking tea by the bar. He looked like Tolkien. He told me what Harry’s breed was but I cannot remember it, I was petting Harry. He was soft and loved cuddles. I chatted a bit with the owner, he was very sweet and had to drink that cognac very fast to be able to make it to that bus.
It is my birthday today and I went back to Zennor. I wanted to walk on the coast path to the other way, all the way to St Ives. Those rocks, like sculpture and all the colours. Wind, sun, the sea. It was just so beautiful. I keep repeating it but every time I say it like it was the first time. I went to sit on a rock close to the water, crashing and foaming waves, colours of bright and pale blue, white lace on black rocks. I sang. I felt like crying but I sang.
*some names have been changed