She stood straight and stretched her arms to the sides, letting the heavy camera hanging from her neck rest on her stomach. God, this place is beautiful. Perching on a nearby rock, she appreciated the sea breeze on her cheeks as she flicked through her findings on the small screen in her hands.
She squinted through the summer sun, pushing her glasses further up the bridge of her nose as she awaited a burst of inspiration. She’d scrutinized the shoreline; studied the pebbles at her feet, drawing pictures in her mind; glorified over the golden ratio. She sucked in another blast of salty air and heaved her aching body to her feet – she wasn’t leaving without the perfect shot.
‘Do you love her?’
I stopped dead in my tracks, my heart leaping to my throat, a deer in headlights.
‘You heard me.’ He said it with more force this time, adopting a stern, fatherly tone; ‘do you love her?’
An eerie silence fell between them and I leaned my head against the cool wall of the hall way, my suddenly sandy tongue plastering itself to the roof of my mouth. What do I do? Do I stay where I am, unmoving and unheard? Or do I creep away, risking the floorboards giving away my position, my unlawful eavesdropping?
I imagined him leaning against the marble kitchen counter, hands deep in jean pockets, head lowered, eyes cast to the floor. There came a sigh, from which man I will never know. Slippered feet shuffled on the kitchen tiles.
I closed my eyes and bit hard on my trembling lip. My mind conjured images of his father’s stern eyes, calloused hands resting on generous hips and a brow raised. My imagination mustn’t have been running too wild, as there came an exasperated sigh.
‘I haven’t even had this conversation with her yet, let alone you! I love her, Dad. I do. And I’m scared.’
I thought of his rough hands, like father like son, being pulled over his face and through his thick, dark hair. Another sigh was forced through pursed lips. Why are you scared? I pinched the bridge of my nose and concentrated on the scuffed skirting board, noticing for the first time the line of Thomas the Tank Engine stickers that paraded the edge meeting the laminate floorboards. I thought of the other fragments of vandalism around the house from his childhood; the crayoned characters behind the door of the cupboard under the stairs, the broken photo frame still parading the smiling faces of his grandparents, the paint on the face of the well-loved rabbit of his infancy that was still proudly perched atop his wardrobe. I let a smile creep across my still shaking lips. Continue reading