Rachel is death to the world. Last night, she fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. She has been busy with her wedding preparation. Yesterday, she took the dress to The Wedding Boutique at Harrods to have it altered. Despite being allergic to London, her recent weight loss and the forthcoming event deserves her presence.
Fortunately, last month she stumbled upon the ad “Cottage with access to the silence, only the sounds of nature” when, at the dentist’s, she skimmed the classified section in a housing magazine. Rachel and John threw caution to the winds and took out a £120,000 mortgage to buy the cottage and the surrounding plot of land. She finally achieved her ambition to own a cottage.
John has just listened to Rachel’s voicemail message: “John, I can’t wait till tomorrow when you get back from your business trip. The weather forecast said a stormy night was expected there, in Dublin. Have a nice and safe trip. I’ll be here, waiting for you. Kisses!”. He takes a deep breath and peeps through the bathroom curtains into the bed.
The hotel room is cosy and warm, ridiculously expensive for the occasion. Luckily, Rachel’s damn cottage is out of mobile signal. He does not feel like calling her back. He chuckles to himself. “Let’s make a night of it, I’ll be there at the crack of dawn.”, he mumbles.
Rachel wakes up in silence. John is snoring loudly. “He’s a terrible snorer.”, she smiles to herself. She abandons the room stealthily, trying not to make the slightest noise. She is proud of their relationship. Respect, fidelity, devotion, love… deep love. Rachel turns the radio receiver on. She is about to squeeze some oranges when she overhears a news bulletin.
“Due to the devastating storms, Dublin’s airspace remains closed since Thursday night. All UK flights have been postponed until next Monday when the storms are expected to recede. A shuttle-bus service is being arranged by Dublin Airport in association with the major flight operators. Nearly a thousand travellers are waiting for this service, which will become available later today and will bring them back to London, Manchester, Oxford and some other UK capitals.”
Rachel turns the receiver off. She picks up her phone. No signal. She goes outside and lifts it. The phone bleeps. A new SMS from “Aaa John” remains unopened. She hesitates for a brief moment before opening it. “Safe and cosy flight. Love you so much! CU”. Tears, anger, hatred. “Stay cool, she who laughs last, laughs best”.
John wakes up. He feels dizzy. “Rachel?”. Nobody answers. The silence kills. He looks at the wall clock. The clock is dead. “Maybe I could have wound up the clock.”, he murmurs. He heads to the kitchen. He is starving. On the worktop, a torn out magazine page where a picture of the cottage stands visible. He grabs it and finds a handwritten message blurred in tears below the original ad. It says: “Cottage with access to the silence and an unused wedding dress, for sale”.