The mist curls up from the furze and hovers over the road, sheep munch placidly along the verge, undisturbed by the vehicles rolling past. A horse extends his nose, sniffing, seeking the choicest grass, damp from the earlier mizzle. A lone figure walks across the moor. It too, picks its way carefully avoiding the many tin traps, the holes where the slightest twist could see an end to an ankle.
As the mists swirls around and about the faint glimmer from a flashlight bouncing back off the diffused white wall shows that the figure has not come up here on the moor unprepared. It is no stranger to the surroundings. The intermittent traffic has no thrall for the walker. The yellowed light is kept on its straight line, veering only where the bumps and tumps of the old workings have thrown up obstacles in the way.
From her window, Freya watches. She has spent many lonely days and nights looking out over the moor. She believes she knows its secrets as well as any other. She has names for the horses, for a couple of the more adventurous sheep. She even names the regular cars and lorries that speed dangerously on the murky twisty road. She knows the ramblers and the dog walkers. She can set her watch by the routines some of them adhere to. It passes the time for her. It relieves her of the necessity to think. She sits in the gloom, a warm blanket across her lap and a pashmina around her shoulders. Her tea is in a thermos jug made fresh in the morning and holding enough to see her through to the time when pressure from her bladder causes her to move. These November days are a blur, seen hazily through a prism at the wrong angle- a brief rainbow of delight bent around the endless greyness of the sky and the moor.
Freya widens her bleary eyes at the sight of the figure. Somehow she has missed its appearance onto the moor. She was unaware of a car turning at the white stones and crunching over the misshapen gravel until it stopped, safe in one of the less muddy hollows. She blinks. The mist whirls, forming and reforming around the outline of the figure of the walker. She strains to catch the glow that marks its presence. It continues, oblivious to her scrutiny, focussed only on what it needs to do, where it needs to go. Freya catches her breath.
Her hand reaches for her cup on the side table. There is still some lukewarm orange liquid in the bottom. Freya gulps, needing the reassurance of the familiar as her gaze locks onto the figure. She steals a brief moment to search for the car but dares not linger too long in case she loses sight of her target. There is nothing to be seen. She can’t be sure in the eddies of the mist as it rises and thickens in places sheer before, that there is nothing there, yet in her heart she believes it so.
The walker moves ever onwards, unwavering in its determination. Freya knows in one blinding instant of certainty where it is headed. Like a lover who has encountered the one who makes her complete again for one single minute before moving on and out of her life, all the world is there in her eyes, all the yearning of life lived and unlived, all the hunger of passion unquenched, all the desire of things undone. Tears scald unchecked down her cheeks.
Memories return of their own volition. Farewells break her heart once more, the touch of a hand remembered, the sigh of a beloved voice. Freya shakes as she tries to stand. The wraps, so necessary for immobility, hamper her now. She struggles to release herself whilst keeping her watch on the walker. Cries of impatience surge to her lips as the material tangles around her body. Stumbling she knocks the side table and the jug of tea teeters before settling back. Freya realises she is grateful for its recovery. In one part of her mind she recognises there is an afterwards where she would not be happy to clear up detritus of her ungainly scramble to the window.
Urgent hands, beseeching the cold panes to allow her more access to the scene before her, shake and tap on the glass. She presses harder until her whole body is limned by the condensation. Her mouth stretches to sound a warning, shriek her newfound wisdom to the one who moves one step at a time across the moor. Her fingers flutter in white and purple, unheard, unseen by the one whom she wants to recall to her side.
The day darkens further. The mist disappears as quickly as it rose. Freya stands, cabined, cribbed and confined to the room, to the glass, to the scene. Her body slumps, her wires cut. The window now holds her up. She stares once more into the gloom. No light is visible, no walker discerned. It has vanished from view.
Freya turns and holds a shaking hand out, reaching for the comfort of her chair. Her mouth, in its silent oh, her eyes wide, she does not see the heap of cloth at her feet. She stumbles and falls to her knees. Her head bangs against the edge of her chair and she weeps. Not silent, her shoulders heave with gut wrenching sobs that come from deep within. She cries with the sorrow of the bereaved, the lost and forever lonely. She falls asleep, there on her knees, mourning what November has stolen from her.
Awaking, she pushes her hair back from her face and carefully regains her feet. Freya picks up the blanket and pashmina, tidying them on her chair. She takes the jug into the tiny kitchen and leaves it there whilst she goes to wash her face. The kettle clicks. She pours a shot of whisky into a mug, adds honey and lemon and then the hot water. She takes the hot toddy into her bedroom. She undresses unhurriedly, her fingers sure, unflappable. The radio is turned on to words, she doesn’t need to listen to music, too many memories and she is too tired for more. Freya climbs into bed and curls her cold hands around the still hot mug, she wishes November over.