This is how the entire course of a life can be changed – by doing nothing. On Chesil Beach, he could have called out to Florence, he could have gone after her. He did not know, or would not have cared to know, that as she ran away from him, certain in her distress that she was about to lose him, she had never loved him more, or more hopelessly, and that the sound of his voice would have been a deliverance, and she would have turned back. Instead, he stood in a cold and righteous silence in the summer’s dusk, watching her hurry along the shore, the sound of her difficult progress lost to the breathing of small waves, until she was a blurred, receding point against the immense straight road of shingle gleaming in the pallid night.

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