Dorothy walked east, her feet quick against the paving stones, tap tap tap. She heard laughter from the local pub, a wash of male voices. She felt focussed; this wasn’t the usual blue that cloaked her in sad, it was sharper, heightened. She could taste smoke curling from a chimney top, smell the wood that burned in an unseen hearth. Her fingers brushed warm brickwork, its roughness a satisfaction. Somewhere a dog barked, a woman called a boys name.

Her lover had a portrait of his wife atop his piano. Dorothy had stared at it as his fingers ran over keys and created music that ached. A big boned, fair haired wife. Germanic. He worried; a neighbour may have noticed Dorothy’s frequent visits and be ready with do-gooder gossip. He paced as Dorothy soothed. She would do anything for him.

Dorothy was heading for the river where she pictured a cleansing, a baptism. Redemption in the depths. It seemed too easy. She switched direction and headed west along a path where nettles clumped in stinging green. Past the allotments. Her hat slipped forwards and she stopped to adjust it, patted her pocket checking for the note, tipped a stone from her shoe. A short way along she removed both shoes and tossed them behind her. Walking in stockinged feet she inched down the embankment and onto the tracks. She lay on the rails.