We were all alone in the cold and clammy darkness. There was an eerie drip, drip, drip from somewhere further into the cave, almost muffled by the crashing of the waves against the rocks below us.
Why on earth had I let Rob persuade me to go climbing over the rocks with him? Even worse, why hadn’t we turned back while we still could before the tide came in? But there was no point worrying about that. We had to get through the night, marooned halfway up the cliff, with no means of contacting anyone. Why is it that mobile phones never have any reception when needed?
Although it was summer, it was still cold here in the cave, and we stupidly hadn’t even thought about taking any extra clothing with us, nor any provisions. There was just my water bottle strapped to my waist on my belt bag, which luckily contained a cereal bar. Rob hadn’t even had the presence of mind to bring water with him, and we had already consumed half of the small packet of chocolate he had in his pocket.
How long had we been exploring the cave? What was the time? I looked at my mobile phone again. Ten thirty-five. It was Rob’s fault of course. He had been absorbed with examining the fossils he had seen in the cave walls. I was just absorbed with admiring Rob. I had fancied him for ages, and this was my big chance. He had wanted to go rock climbing and none of the wimpy girls in our group would have been game to go, except for me, of course. I was always trying to prove that I was a match for any boy. Now look what trouble that had got us into.
It was getting colder and colder. I was shivering. I wondered if they had sent out a search party for us yet. I don’t think the others really took much notice of us leaving the group, they were all enjoying their games on the beach. This was quite a disorganised holiday really, our first without any “grown ups”. There were twelve of us, old schoolmates on a reuinion. We had booked two chalets, one for the boys and one for the girls. Someone would surely miss us soon. The others would have been having their fish and chips supper by now, and soon would go back to their chalets. They must have been wondering where we had got to. Mind you, my sister Jenny would put two and two together and make a hundred and fifty when she realised that both Rob and I were missing. She knew I fancied him like crazy.
I wondered if we were even safe in this cave. The cave floor was dry. The tide perhaps never came this high up the cliff at this time of year. High tide would be about midnight. I went to the cave mouth to see how far down the cliff the sea was. Not far enough, I thought. I was frightened. I could see no way of climbing up, and anyway, I couldn’t leave Rob here alone.
Rob had fallen when he was clambering up the steep rocks at the back of the cave because he had seen a shaft of light high up at the top of the rocks in there. Now he sat still nursing his broken ankle. He was going no-where.
I went back to Rob and sat beside him. “There’s nothing we can do now, Rob, except sing”, I said. “Maybe someone will hear us.”
We huddled up close to keep warm and we sang until we were hoarse. No-one came. Well, how could they anyway? We then sat there telling each other stories. I ran out of exciting stories to tell, but I made some up anyway, I suppose Rob did too. Anything to keep cheerful while we waited for morning to come………
I’m not sure who fell asleep first, but we woke up to see sunshine streaming in at the mouth of the cave. It was morning. I sprang up and went to the mouth of the cave. The tide was well on it’s way out now. I would be able to climb down from our perch up the cliff and into the open where I would have reception on my mobile. Our ordeal was almost over. Search and rescue were soon on their way.
“So did Uncle Rob marry you soon after that then, Auntie Marie?” asked Harriet.
“No, Harriet. He proposed to Auntie Jenny when he came out of hospital, and they were married three months later.”
“But how come you and Uncle Rob are married now?”
“That’s a story for another day, darling”, I answered.