It wasn’t the first time Ellie had switched off the wind. Some boys were laughing at a friend whose skirt was blowing up. She hadn’t had enough hands to hold it down. Without thinking, Ellie turned a chilly, this-way-and-that wind into a faint breeze. Just like that.
Now they leave the village and walk up onto the moors. They’d seen the turbines from the bus, standing at the highest point, watching the landscape fall away to the far-off sea. Ellie breathes in fresh cool air, enjoying the freedom after months cooped up helping Mum with Frank. She looks up at chaotic clouds charging across the wide blue sky.
Mum clutches the urn in its carrier bag. Ellie offers to carry it, Mum refuses and she’s glad. All these years she’d put up with Frank for Mum. Put up with more than she was aware of. Ellie couldn’t ever tell. It was over. Had been for years. Since she put the lock on her bedroom door at sixteen and stared him out over breakfast.
They climb higher. Ellie can hear the turbines, like water sloshing endlessly and rhythmically. She can’t take her eyes off them. They’re beautiful. Mum stops by a gate.
Ellie, remembering what she did last time, switches the wind off. Within seconds, there’s warmth and silence all around.
Mum starts to cry. Ellie can’t decide whether they should be mourning this man or celebrating their freedom. She feels confused and can’t concentrate. Mum opens the urn and tips it forward. The wind decides to switch itself back on. Grey powder pours out into it. They both have faces full of Frank.
Mum starts laughing. Not proper laughter, just gone-beyond-crying-and-sort-of-hysterical laughter. Ellie grins, spits out what she can of Frank and wipes some from her eyes. It’s raining. Mum is still laughing and crying. Rain, tears and ashes mingle until the bus arrives. Water snakes down the glass as Ellie gets her last glimpse of the watching turbines.