To the south of Greyling Bay the mountains smooth and flatten and the beaches are bright with sand. The road cuts away from the water and for a couple of miles the salt marshes stretch, shallow and grassy, and narrow ridge of dunes holding them back from the beach.
Phyllis drives her van out every day and waits in the car park for customers who rarely come.
While she waits, she watches over the marshes and the distant line of dunes, the curve and flow of them so familiar to her now that even when she leaves she can see their low profile, their salted, faded greens: the water beyond them a narrow silver flash and then the sky arching above them felted with bruise-coloured clouds, constantly changing.
She used to be able to spot who was out on the water from the shape of the boats’ cabins, silhouetted against the glittering grey seas. Now she can barely see the boats at all and she stares at each distant blurred dot as it passes and wonders if it’s the Gwiddon. Thinking of Owen’s hands on the wheel, their familiar callouses softened and gone. The hot rasp of his fingers against her skin.