Ears prickle and his tongue drips once. Cur at the trattoria is alert. A heavy breath. Shusshing traffic overlays the ruckle of cups on aluminium. Tail away. Yap-Yap! A nylon leash bends the fence. Chair leg scrapes on paving as his nose jabs denim. Kettle-grown mint ruffles in the breeze. He sniffs the table, shuffles to the left. Hairs disentangle, fall. Questioning look in butterscotch eyes. Plod, jump, wriggle, then patient sitting. Assurance is a gesture.
Karl’s strength evaporated when Robbie left. Twelve cushioned years, soured in July. The fling was dumbfounding, upending the future with a deep-echoing blow. Lies showed in posture as well as the voice. A phone that never rings is gratuitous. Daylight awakens the conscience-smitten; yawns are full of reproach.
The sky feigns a vacant pose. Downdrafts w-huh around the crane. Leaves rustle, agitated. Water shimmers to olive, touch-and-go at brick edging. Curving towards the flux, the rowing boat grapples to its purpose. Traction of oar jiggles green slime. Off-white gathers…is pushed away. Damp wood – sudden dip at the stern reflects red. A shudder makes Vvvvvs after slops whorl the paddle’s gusto. The distance tugs an invisible rope. One duck sinks, bobs. Ripples quick-turn into lop-sided grids. Light sees light in a myriad of animated triangles. A once-thrown over stone wraps its memories around sticky algae. Gnats criss-cross their dance, hypnotising a wave. Unseen, a conscious fish pouts a bubble on the surface. There, the predictable roll dissipates.
By Christopher Barnes