ROCKING HORSE ROAD

During the sweltering week between Christmas and New Year, and then on through the rest of that summer, people took to leaving objects near where Lucy's body had been found. At first they simply placed their offerings on the sand but the tide and the easterly wind soon carried them away and so the warning sign became a natural shrine. It was above the high-tide mark and protected from the wind by a dip in the dunes. We never saw anyone coming or going. Bunches of daffodils and lilies miraculously seemed to spring out of the dry sand at the base of the pole before wilting away in an afternoon. Notes and letters, weighted down with hand-painted rocks, would appear overnight. A small brown teddy bear, and later a pink rabbit, lived there for most of January and half of February before moving on.

On New Year's Eve a black and white photograph was carefully tied to the pole with a yellow ribbon. It was a picture we had not seen before. Lucy, sitting on a couch, wearing a short summer dress that showed a lot of her legs. She was relaxed and smiling, looking out boldly at the photographer over the top of heart-rimmed sunglasses. To be honest the photo made us anxious. Lucy looked older than we recalled her, more confident and womanly than our memories of her allowed. We were suspicious and jealous of whoever had taken the picture. Al Penny wondered aloud how long would be a decent interval before we could shift it to our files. (Exhibit 14)

© Carl Nixon, Photography by Stephanie Nixon