Monday, 13 January 2014

Fish-eyed

The days are slowly lengthening, minute by minute, dusk by dusk, which is perhaps why when I went to lock up the car park the other evening there were two cars parked up, facing the sea. It wasn't raining. The wind was gusting in at about 40mph from the south, buffeting the side doors, but barely affecting the water. Its tide was low, distant. Mud gleamed faintly. Light fading. The sun had set, unspectacularly, and clouds were clustering at the horizon, without too much definition, grey filled the sky, with a strange flatness. The moon appeared and disappeared.

In one car a lone man had his flask out, propped behind the steering wheel, his gloved hands wrapped around a thermal mug. In the other a slightly older couple, wrapped up in scarves and hats, only their noses visible, didn't look as if they were making any move to get out. Both engines were running, headlights off, with less than another car's width between them. There was no apparent communication between the two sets of occupants.

I stood for a second, leaning into the wind to keep myself upright and motionless, and turned to look at the view they were both watching. Or were they studying it? Or not even seeing it really? In that light the sea spread as a loose canvas before us all, offering a sight that could be interpreted as anxious, dismissive, angry, romantic or something else entirely, depending on what we'd been doing earlier. What had they been doing then to bring them here now? Still they sat, staring at the disregarding sea as if they were infatuated teenagers again. And I stood there, getting colder as the wind ate my fingers and ears, giving them one last minute of whatever it was, before I'd ask them to leave.

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