by Jonathan Edward Doyle
That summer Asa and I had time to ourselves. We had big plans of small things. Simple things. We would live as modestly and sincerely as we knew how. We would want for nothing. We would see few people, worry about no-one. We were young, we were new and we deserved this. We were innocent.
We followed the river down to the sea, looking for routes through the dunes, paths of least resistance. We would eat breakfast and get ready in silence, an unspoken itinerary in effect. The clock became obsolete, us independent of time. My wife would sit and carefully wrap sandwiches in wax paper. I made a flask of coffee, sweet as she preferred. We took something to drink for the walk home.
We crossed the road from the house into a wilderness, following the river through the dunes to the sea. Asa with freckled arms and windy hair. Butterflies lined the path, taking off as we approached. A Lapwing artfully swooping in defence or display. Butterflies settled behind us.
The dunes flattened out towards the coast, the treeless landscape lunar. The river ran a green strip through the barren sand. The smell of water mint hung in the air. She liked to choose where we sat, changing her mind with teasing frequency. Anywhere overlooking the water. Canada geese led long lines of flocculent goslings. The sand clung to her legs beneath her dress. Brilliantly blue dragonflies settled around us. Elegant swans and awkward heron. I saw us in sepia tones, photographs our daughters would swoon over. Asa sat and smoked with my head resting on her thighs. I spoke to her. I told her my dreams. I opened my chest and exposed my very core. I burned brightly, for once in my life managing to anchor myself in the present.
That summer, Asa and I.
Jonathan Edward Doyle is a zoology graduate currently juggling postgraduate study with writing fiction. He lives in Cardiff with friends and his twin brother.