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  • Here we are,” said the driver, “Bundoran sea front.”

    She got out of the truck and waved goodbye to the driver as he set off again. She wandered down to the shore, letting the water lap against her feet as she held her sandals in her hands and felt a kind of freedom.

    As dusk fell she found a bus shelter and sat down; her eyelids started drooping and she lay on her side and fell asleep.

    A barking dog woke her in the morning. She felt quite dizzy as she stood up, stretched and wondered towards a café and found a toilet. Looking at an unfamiliar face in the mirror she washed her hands, dried them on some toilet paper and went into the café to buy a drink.

    She smiled at the woman behind the counter. “A cup of tea please.”

    “Now then,” said the woman, “that will be two euros.”

    “Oh yes, money,” stammered Rose.

    The café owner studied Rose’s face: she looked quite vac ant and was having trouble focusing.

    “Have you got your handbag?” the woman asked.

    Rose looked around. “Oh, no.”

    “Look in your raincoat pocket. Have you got a purse in there?”
    Rose fumbled and found a blue fabric purse.

    “Oh, I found it,” she announced, beaming. She ignored the debit card and took out two pounds.

    “Enjoy your tea said the woman, who assumed that Rose was just a bit slow.

    After her tea Rose walked back to the shore. It was a warm day and she sat near a man and woman building a sandcastle with three children on the beach. The youngest child toddled towards her and showed her a pebble.

    “Pebble,” she said and opened her hand for it. The baby put it in her hand then opened his hand.

    “Pebble me,” he insisted, and she gave the pebble back to him.
    The detective was checking out the missing woman’s laptop, and clicked on the History icon.

    “Jesus, does she spend all day on the computer? She’s carried out twelve different searches. And look on her email site – she’s got about fifty messages from LinkedIn…writing groups in Canada …South Africa and Mexico. How does she cope?”

    “I don’t know,” sobbed Maureen.

    “This note,” he said, holding it up. “Why would she draw a bird? Let’s see who she phoned last.”

    Maureen punched 1471 into the land phone.

    “It’s my Auntie’s number.”

    The detective phoned the missing woman’s sister.

    “Oh, what’s happened?” she asked. After she had been told, she explained the jottings.

    “Rose is writing about her life and I found a letter she wrote to our mum when she was six. She was staying with our aunt and was finding it difficult to talk to her so she wrote things down.”

    “I’m trying to be good but I’m not used to it – is that significant? The detective asked.

    “It was a difficult time for her,” said the sister. “Maybe writing about it will help her emotionally.”

    “Thank you.”

    “Tell me as soon as you hear from her, won’t you?”

    “Yes, yes.”
    In Bundoran Rose had started chatting to the parents of the children commenting on the children’s play.

    “She’s fascinated with that shell. Isn’t it wonderful seeing children discover the world?”

    “Where are you from?” asked the children’s mother.

    “Um….I don’t know,” said Rose and started crying. “I can’t remember my name either.”

    “Let’s look in your pockets…a purse. What’s in it?”

    “Some money and a debit card,” said Rose as she looked through its contents.

    “There you are. Your name is Rose…Rose M Gribbon.”

    The name meant nothing to her. Had she stolen the card?

    “Oh what shall I do?” she asked
    “Come on - let’s go to our hotel and look you up on the internet,” the father said.
    (to be continued................)
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