It was the beauty of the sky that caused her to pause mid-step and look up. If she hadn’t stopped then, at that precise moment, she would have missed it.
It was a very subtle movement amongst the branches above her. It could have been mistaken as a shadow cast by the shifting light and yet she knew exactly what it was.
This was the third time she had caught a brief glimpse of the flecked white under body cutting its way through the trees. It was as if it was following her, stalking her. A cool shiver ran over her body, even though it was a blistering hot day and perspiration ran down her bare arms.
She’d decided on this walk this morning after a week of sudden changes and mixed emotions. Jen, wanted to clear her mind of the decisions that were pressing for completion: Life changing, dream changing, future changing decisions.
Decisions that were urgent; Decisions that wouldn’t allow her to ponder and analyse. She now faced choices that she hadn’t contemplated. It had all happened so quickly.
Only two weeks ago Matt had been training for a half-marathon charity run and now he couldn’t even walk. He needed her, she knew this. And she had her own life to consider, her own dreams to pursue. And she also knew he wouldn’t be with her long.
The accident had been so traumatic and severe that it was only a matter of time before his vital organs would give in.
It had taken a life time for Jen to acknowledge her own worth as an intelligent, creative individual and only now had she dared to dream of a new life for herself, free from a past of sacrifice and restriction.
…Maybe even a new romance or social life beyond the boundaries of her dreary job as an accountant.
…Maybe making her hobby as a painter into a pastime that paid.
She’d allowed herself to begin to write out her vision and goals and to plan for a future she’s only glimpsed at from behind the curtains of resistance and a lifetime of can’ts. It was a life she was falling in love with and felt invigorated just thinking of.
She’d added so much detail and the pictures had become sharper so that she could almost touch the solid oak door of the home she wanted and smell the lavender in the garden.
She knew the type of man she wanted in her life. She knew the colour of his eyes (bright blue), the softness of his skin, what motivated him, (such as nature and independence) and how she’d know he loved her.
She’d begun to believe it could happen. She’d begun to believe she could take control and create what she wanted.
And here she was being asked to put it all on hold. She knew it was a choice, her choice, her responsibility.
No it didn’t have to be the end of her dream but her dream life now relied on Matt being taken out of the equation and the very thought pierced her heart and tore at her soul.
Matt was her only brother.
Four years older than her he had always looked out for her, been there when she’d run into trouble. He’d been the one who had saved her from her abusive marriage and offered her a place to escape to, even though his wife hadn’t wanted her there.
Now he was paralysed and his life was expected to last another six months and his wife had died in the accident.
There was no choice really.
Jan couldn’t live with herself if she didn’t do this.
The rest would have to wait.
What are dreams anyway?
Tears dripping on to her hands brought her back into the present as the bird soared effortlessly above her.
She had not imagined it.
A Peregrine Falcon, so beautiful, so majestic and so elegant was circling above her, crying out into the afternoon breeze.
As Jan dabbed her eyes with a tissue, she realised she’d walked much further than she’d intended and was now on the moorland path, far past the woods from which she’d came.
She found a moss-covered rock and placed the light raincoat she’d been carrying, over it before she sat down to watch the impressive display. She expected the bird to dive on a mouse or a rabbit it had spotted as it picked up speed in the air, accelerating across the sky and moving into a dive.
From the little research she’d done since moving back to the north, she knew that this was an extremely rare sighting and it was unusual to see so much of a falcon in one day.
If she were to listen to local folklore she’d say the bird was an omen, encouraging her to follow her purpose, to create a plan, to strategize and not give in, to stay on the path toward her goal.
Just as the falcon is focused and determined she must be the same.
But how? How could she even think about that now?
As if to emphasise its message the falcon dived down and plucked the tissue from Jan’s hand startling her so that she fell backwards on to the rocky ground.
Pulling herself, up she looked around for the mischievous bird, but it had disappeared from sight.
Dusting herself down and picking up her coat, Jan thought about Matt and saw her decision was made.
Like the bird here dreams had flown for now.
She made her way back toward the woodland path resolute in her choice.
She breathed deeply and let go of the tension she had been carrying in her shoulders for the past two weeks, and she lengthened her stride and headed toward Matt’s home to give him the news.
She would of course be moving in and caring for him
It took her thirty minutes to get to the cottage, walking at a breathy pace, motivated by the clarity and certainty of her decision.
She opened the wooden gate excited to tell Matt the news, just as a gardening delivery van was arriving.
A tall man with bright blue eyes got out of the van carrying two planters of lavender which he placed at either side of Matt’s oak front door.
Jan smiled and laughed out aloud.
Maybe her life was unfolding just as it should after all.