One Reply to “9.26.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. It was something I said, or maybe it was the way that I said it – all wistful and lost. It was something about how it was all different when we were young. How we could just lie on a blanket in the sun for hours and it was enough. I didn’t mean anything by saying it. It was just something I remembered and I couldn’t recall at what point we no longer did that.

    He said we should pack a picnic and he’d get the blanket and we could just go.

    ‘Is it warm enough?’ I asked. ‘Have you checked the weather forecast for the day? Should we let someone know where we are?’

    We didn’t bother about any of those things before and maybe that was part of it. He looked at me, his hands thrust deep in his pockets and his head on one side like he was inspecting something that did not look right. The way he was looking, I just laughed and I said ok, that I’d make the picnic.

    I thought we’d take the car and go someplace nice, the windows rolled down and the radio turned up too loud. Maybe to the beach or out by Maydew park or inland to where the ground buckled into rolling hills. But we set out on foot. He said he knew just the place. I didn’t know if I should change my shoes. I asked him if it was far.

    And the thing is, there was a place where we used to lay down on the grass and it was quiet then and there were trees and thick hedges everywhere and places you could sit and not be seen – only, it was different now. The trees had been felled and the hedges uprooted and grey tarmac paths criss-crossed the rough ground and the noise of traffic was in the air. It smelled of diesel fumes and there were old crisp packets and juice cans caught in the tangled grass.

    We cleared a space and set the blanket down all the same, in a spot that he picked and he said it was our spot from way back. I shrugged and said perhaps it was. He made a noise in the back of his throat when he lowered himself onto the blanket. I’d noticed that noise before – when he bent to pick something he’d dropped, or when he was removing his shoes or his socks. It was something new, that sound, and I wondered if I did the same sometimes, when I wasn’t really paying attention.

    ‘Did you lock the door?’ I said. ‘Front and back?’

    He lay down on his back and looked up at the sky. He’d done that before, so many years back that it might not have been him and might not have been me, staring at the clouds and seeing pictures and stories in their shapes. I lay down beside him, close enough I could feel the familiar warmth of him through his clothes and mine.

    ‘What do you see?’ I asked him.

    ‘Clouds,’ he said.

    I pinched his leg and told him he was being silly.

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