Sophie looked around the room with the lovely little bay window that looked out over the square below. The furniture was sparse but elegant. A complete contrast, she thought to herself, from the house she had left behind in England, where she had lived for more than thirty years. That house had been full to overflowing with antique pieces that she had painstakingly collected over the years.
Each piece had once meant so much to her, and yet she had been able to walk away from it all without feeling anything at all. No sense of regrets, no sense of loss - just nothing.
That wasn't quite true, because ever since she had left the dull, leaden skies of England to board the flight to Malaga, she had felt an increasing sense of freedom and excitement, albeit tinged with a slight feeling of anxiety, and a lingering sadness that would never be erased.
This would be the first time since leaving her parents' home in the early sixties that she would actually be living on her own. Forty years had passed since that time. Years when, quite often, Sophie felt as if she were sleepwalking from one day to the next. It was different, of course, when the boys were growing up. Then it was the usual routine of the school run, fitting in a full time career building up the Childrens' Nursery School that she had started with a friend, along with all the ferrying around with all the various after-school activities that the boys were involved in.
Sophie, herself, was an only child. Her parents dearly would have loved more children but, after three miscarriages and a still-born baby, her poor mother could take no more. So it was that all their love and attention were focused on her. Theirs was a worried kind of love, and Sophie was wrapped in cotton wool and never really had the chance to form an identity of her own. It always seemed to her that even her thinking had been done for her.
As the taxi drove along the coastal road to the village that was to be her new home, the sea glistened like diamonds and Sophie vowed to herself that, in this new chapter of her life, all this was about to change.