The first of a series of ‘postcards’ – tiny, unconnected stories.
The edge of the table cloth moves under the breeze. Worn, white jacquard, soft on my hands, creases easily as my fingers undo its neatness.
Folds meet pattern; describing possibility. Dressing a table pleases me; a naked table’s as sad as a bare mattress.
I’ve read Neruda for the last five nights, my mind’s there still. Nights alive in his hi-fidelity landscapes; populated by dreamers.
There’s a cut on your hands, short and dark with clotted blood now; evidence of work done. The stamp of the story of your fence building. An unkept dry stretch between the boundary of my place and next door, overgrown with chaotic ivy. And the perfect family live there; punctual, coordinated, dull. An unanswered dispute means this is territory they won’t discuss.
It’s no good waiting for the weather to soften the earth; sometimes hard work is all there is.
You lower your voice to tell me of their conversation. Your storyteller’s voice and expressive hands. Her tears at the long weeks, the fear of solitude. His defence of his kingdoms and and the lies beneath their accents and words. Your words and the setting sun reach into me. We are weary now.
You return from inside with a green cardboard punnet, over full with late raspberries, dripping where you’ve washed them roughly. Treasure from your journey out for tools and supplies; high from the heat of midday; soft fruit scent even in the early dark.
Our talk slips back to work; the difference between what we must do and what cannot be avoided. The ache for simplicity.
Droplets of water from the raspberries reach the wine spilled earlier. Capillaries of red fruit juice draw a drunken pink moon on the damp cloth.
You reach to pour more wine and unspoken motives move me to place my scarf around your shoulders. There you ease; grow in the warmth.
The wine is not a need.
Already the lawn seems uncertain as to what role it should play; uncertain of its earlier choices.
I steady my hand, or your glass, or the bottle. I’m not sure. There’s a weight to your arm and together we place the bottle down. Both glasses are full.
A lorry rumbles past in the street and the moment holds. I can feel the warming.
You might have described the views of your childhood walk home as we sit closer. The way the road rises to the town and the dark that thrilled you.
There’s no stars tonight, just the glow of the house. A mosquito makes a drunken pass. We share my scarf and you laugh at my turn of phrase.
You tell me the choice of warmth indoors is wise now. The cooling earth keeps its word and holds our steps till we close the door.