I went outside and wandered down to the edge of the lake. The sun was lowering now and the sky was turquoise fading into pale orange near the horizon. The lake glittered lazily.
'Maria?' I heard Beau's voice from the house behind me but pretended not to, walking instead along the edge of the bank that had been built up with sandbags and topped with a mixture of earth and sand, allowing cautious white clovers to self-seed and grow among the young grass.
A 'plane droned softly overhead and I looked up, wishing it was tomorrow and I was safe aboard the flight to St Lucia, away from this place and the memories that I was pulling along like a shadow behind me as I moved slowly round the lake.
I glanced down at the water again. The sun no longer touched it and I stopped, certain I could see through the cloudy layers. Or was it my imagination? For as long as I remember the water here had always been murky and impenetrable. But now...
I bent towards the water, looking intently; there were fronds of some sort of aquatic plant down there, a few small fish moving slowly through them. And something round and rigid. What was that? At first I thought it might be a bicycle wheel but, crouching down and slitting my eyes to focus my vision, I could see it was definitely solid. I stood up quickly, glancing over my shoulder at the house. Beau was nowhere in sight, thank God. If he'd been watching me he would have come over to see what I was looking at.
A trembling started in my legs; my throat felt dry and I was finding it difficult to swallow. 'Get a grip, Maria,' I muttered to myself, shocked at the quaver in my voice. 'You just have to get through another fourteen hours and you'll be on the 'plane, safely away from here.'
But I shouldn't have walked down here. I should have stayed in the house, finished my packing, sat down with Beau for a final drink together and just kept away instead of coming back; re-living the memory; scratching at it like a mosquito bite; tempting fate.