Yesterday was all scudding clouds and brilliant light on this quiet beach. Seagulls, nothing but ragged shapes in a windblown sky.
I found the photograph lodged under a stone. Dog-eared, worn and stained, intimate. Abandoned? Looking at that little picture trembling in the wind, I heard you.
Lying on our backs tracing faces in the clouds. Faces I don’t see until you show me. ‘Got one. Look an old man, like a wrinkled prune. That’s you one day.’
You snigger, shift, complain about sand getting everywhere. You say, ‘Lets walk, should we? Let’s take our picture, ok?’
Placing the camera on a rock, you tell me where to stand. Maybe I’m reluctant, I don’t know, can’t remember, but I can still see the look on your face, hear you say, ‘This is such a lovely thing to do.’
‘Ok, ok. It’s fine. Sorry.’
You set the timer, and run towards me yelling, ‘Catch a smile in the frame, and we must be together forever.’ The shutter fires before you reach me.
‘Do it again.’
‘Silly, to remind us, to remember.’
‘Ok. Fine, one more time.’
‘I love you. But sometimes-’
‘Look. Here. Something for you. This can be a memory, can’t it?’ Handing you a shell. Your smile moments before you kiss me. And just as the shutter fires for the second time you run towards me. I turn, loose my balance and we collapse, giggling. I see me slumped in a heap, my face towards you. You laughing. And something else echoed in the grain of that photograph. Your smile, so beautiful, is still with me. And you?
I replaced the picture, wondering if it was a deliberate gesture, that it should be left to the wind and the waves, and maybe that’s already happened, it’s gone.
Today the weather’s turned, inky clouds, squally rain, a turbulent sea pounding the shore, wind blown foam scattering across the shingle. It’s difficult to imagine how something so fragile could survive.