The End

The End

Winner of The Academy of Writers Competition

Chapter 1: Positano, The End

It was a beautiful mid September afternoon in Positano. All was quiet and calm after the mad rush of August with the locals and the tourists from all over the world. Positano is definitely one of the most idyllic coastal towns of the Amalfi Coast, perhaps even the whole of Italy. For Margaux, the beauty of this cliffside village is simply unparalleled. Margaux fell in love with Positano the first time she visited with her father as a child. There was some magic in Positano that even Capri could not beat. Perhaps it was the memories of a little girl running along the beach at sunset, picking up little pebbles with her father without a single care in the world. She had her father holding on to her little hands and being that solid rock for her, as she braved the sea. That is the dream of every little girl, being daddy’s little princess and knowing that daddy will always be there to catch you when you fall. That was almost 30 years ago.

Ever since, she’s returned to her paradise every few years. She’s watched many sunrises and sunsets from the balcony of Le Sirenuse. Le Sirenuse is one of the most beautiful and luxurious boutique hotels in the Amalfi Coast, situated on the beautiful cliff of Positano. In fact, it was not surprising when they named the suite that she often stayed in after her. The Margaux Suite is on the second floor of Le Sirenuse and has two balconies. Needless to say, it is facing the sea, with a view of the famous ‘Positano Dome’ of the church, Santa Maria Assunta. The interior decor of the Margaux Suite is in a duck egg blue with a white wash, coastal yet elegant with a golden touch of Parisian chic. The grand suite’s statement piece is the romantic and decadent French-Chateau four poster bed handcrafted from Dalbergia wood, covered in sumptuous Charlotte Thomas bespoke linen. Like Margaux, the suite oozes traditional charm and elegance. 

Margaux had many beautiful memories of Positano and the Amalfi Coast. She decided to return to her happy place one last time. She spent all day yesterday walking around Positano, exploring every nook and corner, climbing up the narrow little streets and all the stairs in her beautiful Rene Caovilla crystal sandals. Margaux would rather be seen dead than without her stilettos to accentuate her beautiful long legs. Margaux had a shoe collection similar to that of Imelda Marcos, if not better. When it came to fashion, Margaux was always impeccably and elegantly stylish in the classic sense. Although she was only in her late thirties, Margaux exuded a timeless quality.

That morning, Margaux decided on a sunrise drive along the coastal road from Positano to Salerno and back. The 80 miles drive was with iconic panoramic sweeping views of coastal cliffside villages and beaches, and catching the sunrise was simply the ultimate drive especially in a classic open top 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300S. She was the envy of many drivers that morning as they gazed and tooted at her magnificent car. As the wind blew across the Hermes silk scarf tied around her hair, her face slightly hidden under a pair of black, oversized Fendi sunglasses, in a very Grace Kelly-esque manner, she waved politely and gave a smile. Underneath the smile, her mind was racing close to the top speed of her car at 100mph.

Margaux sat in the terrace of the hotel’s restaurant; La Sponda, over looking that beautiful view of Positano, staring into the horizon, enjoying her glass of Solaia after her 3 hours drive to Salerno and back. Margaux with her olive skin, hazel brown eyes, long wavy brunette hair and slim frame was the epitome of beauty, but don’t let her beauty mislead you. Margaux was also very opinionated, strong and assertive bordering on aggressive when it came to her business empire. From the outside world, Margaux looked serene as if she hadn’t a single worry in the world. No one knew of the tempestuous raging waves inside of her fragile soul. To the rest of the world, she was indestructible.

Back in her suite, Margaux opened the doors to the balconies. She could hear the waves and feel the gentle breeze from the Tyrrhenian Sea. Perfect setting, she thought to herself. The bellboy had kindly brought up the Nitrogen tank from her car to her suite, which she picked up this morning from Salerno. She was apparently scuba diving in the next day or two, or so that was the excuse she gave. No one of course would dare to question Margaux especially not the staff of Le Sirenuse. She placed the tank beside the bed and tied it with a silky black ribbon to the post of the four-poster bed, to ensure that, in case of a struggle, her plan would not fail. Margaux had thought of all possibilities, calculated everything and planned the details down to exact precision. Those who knew Margaux knew the extreme precision she had for everything, almost to the point of being obsessive and compulsive!

From her Louis Vuitton trunk, she took out the ‘bag’. She prepared this last week when she had decided on her exit plans. It was a rather simple oven bag, big enough for a large turkey, with a small opening for a tube and drawstrings to close the bag. Margaux had done her research and she had read all the modifications to the ‘bag’ to ensure it would surely do what it needed to do. She carefully placed the ‘bag’ on the bed, fed the tube from the Nitrogen tank through into the bag. She tested the valve and ensured the Nitrogen gas was filling up the ‘bag’. Having done all her checks, she knew it was almost time for the grand finale. She walked out to the balcony, held on to the rails, watched the deep blue sea and clear blue sky one last time, inhaled the sea air deeply, whispered to herself that it was time, exhaled and gracefully walked back into her suite towards the antique walnut bureau. Her cold manicured hands pulled open one of the small drawers, and she took out 3 handwritten letters addressed to her children, her husband and Salvatore. She had written them last night, carefully penned with her Fulgor Nocturnus fountain pen, made by the renowned Tibaldi of Florence. This pen was designed based on the Divine Proportions of Phi; ratio between the cap and the visible portion of the barrel is equal to the phi ratio of 1.618. Talk about precision when it comes to Margaux. Of course, the letters were written on her own bespoke stationery handcrafted from Smythson in the signature nile blue with her own monogram. She placed the letters carefully on the bureau, next to the vase of Sarah Bernhardt peonies specially flown in from China, though it was not in season. What Margaux wanted, Margaux usually got. 

Margaux walked towards the restored antique gramophone in the suite, took her favourite vinyl record from the shelf, the little sparrow, Edith Piaf of course. After winding up the motor on the handle, she carefully removed the black sleeve and placed the vinyl on the turntable and gently placed the needle in the take-up groove at the outer edge of the record. The voice of the little sparrow came alive with one her favourite songs; La Vie En Rose. The countdown had started. The gramophone would play 8 songs approximately and by the time, the motions were set, her favourite song, appropriately timed for the moment; Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien would be playing and fading as she drifted off.

Margaux was dressed in her favourite Oscar de la Renta dress. A strapless floral tea length gown in silver; with strapless neckline to show off her beautiful long neck and cleavage, a wasp waist full skirt to keep her timeless classic look, and a red floral design throughout. She looked as alluring as ever. She would usually do her hair up in a chignon, but not today. She knew she would likely struggle and would not want a single hair out of place from her chignon. She chose to let her long wavy brunette hair down. She spritzed her favourite Chanel Coco Mademoiselle on her wrists and just behind her ears. She was the picture of perfection. No one could ever guess why she would choose to do this. The mask she normally had on was enough to fool everyone, to hide her real fragile self away. Alas, life always had a way of hurting the most vulnerable and fragile soul. Even Margaux could not escape the cards life had laid out for her.

She carefully placed her Sophia Webster’s Evangeline White and Rose Gold wing sandals beside the bed. She needed the wings for her next journey, if there is indeed an afterlife, as Dante Alighieri had suggested. If so, she knew, she would definitely be heading to Inferno. This was not a doubt in her mind. The question would be which of the 9 circles would Margaux be tortured in? Likely the second circle she thought for her lust or perhaps the fourth for her greed or maybe the fifth for her anger. She knew no matter how many Hail Marys she recited, it would never be enough to atone for what she had done. Nonetheless, she knelt by the bed, clasped her cold hands together and prayed for forgiveness.

“Hail Mary, full of grace,

The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women,

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God.

Pray for us sinners,

Now and at the hour of our death.


As calmly and gracefully as she could, she climbed into the bed without disturbing the crisp white bespoke Charlotte Thomas bed linen and duck egg throw. She checked the black ribbon on the tank tied to the top left post of the Dalbergia wood frame. All secured. She could feel the palpitations of her broken heart. She looked up at the white bed canopy and took a long, deep breath. She positioned herself carefully on the goose feather pillow and picked up the ‘bag’. With utter precision, she slipped the bag over head without smearing her makeup or her Rouge Dior in a matte fresh rosewood. Her left hand carefully turned on the valve of the Nitrogen tank. The bag filled up expectedly. With no hesitation, Margaux pulled the drawstrings tightly with both her hands and secure them in a double constrictor knot just at the suprasternal notch. Known famously as the Almasy Bosporus, as claimed by Count Laszlo de Almasy (played by Ralph Fiennes) in the film, The English Patient. Margaux loved that classic film. Her mind raced to the moment Katherine wrote her last words in the cave as the light went out, “We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, taste we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves”.

Margaux let her mind wander. She could still hear the waves in the background and she could hear her favourite song blasting from the gramophone.

“Non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien qu’on m’a fait, ni le mal
Tout ça m’est bien égal
Non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien
C’est payé, balayé, oublié, je me fous du passé

Avec mes souvenirs j’ai allumé le feu
Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs
Je n’ai plus besoin d’eux
Balayé les amours avec leurs trémolos
Balayé pour toujours
Je reparts à zéro

Non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien qu’on m’a fait, ni le mal
Tout ça m’est bien égal
Non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien
Car ma vie, car mes joies
Aujourd’hui ça commence avec toi..”

Margaux certainly did not want to regret anything, not her. Bitter or sweet, happy or sad, what’s been done cannot be undone. Non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien! No regrets, certainly not.

Margaux felt tears rolling down her beautiful hazel brown eyes, she could still feel the palpitations of her broken heart but she knew this was what had to happen, this was the grand finale to the one and only Margaux D’Amour. It was as if it was all written in the stars, fated and pre-destined. Her family name was love but also a secret love affair. Margaux was the secret love child that ended her life after a secret love affair of her own. That was the story.

The song was barely perceptible and her breathing was more laboured. She didn’t struggle. It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. Margaux saw her earliest memory as a child.

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