(Photo courtesy of Beth Deitchman)
The Party To End All Parties
Mark passes dancers, graceful in movement to music, kegs, debaters, clusters of people clutching mugs of tea on his right and others indulging in what he thinks passes for tai chi on his left, warm sand grains lodging between his toes, as he makes for his goal. He knows where she will be whilst the tide is out.
“Hey, you,” he says, settling himself onto the outstretched picnic blanket.
“Hey,” Rach says, glancing at him, before her gaze returns to the horizon.
“Fancy seeing you here.”
“Fancy indeed,” Rach returns, without inflection. She offers him a plastic beaker. “Afraid I started without you. Apologies and all that. Figured you wouldn’t mind in the circumstances.”
“Guess not. Means I’m playing catch up though, doesn’t it? You going to give me chance?” Mark is rewarded with a look, Rach’s blue eyes catching hold of his, holding him in place briefly, before she looks away again, with a shake of her head. The slight breeze whips her dark hair away from her shoulders, before bringing it to rest again. “Sorry. Should’ve thought about that one really.”
“No, really,” Mark says. “I don’t want to waste time arsing about. Not today.”
“With so much to experience at the party to end all parties,” Rach says, mocking. “Why would you?”
“Seriously?” Mark says, reaching towards her, to turn her chin gently in his direction. His fingers move strands of hair from across her face.
“Well, who can blame you for wanting to spend your final moments with me, I guess. After all, I am the best thing you’ve never had.” Rach casts a glance in Mark’s direction, eyebrows raising pointedly; mischievous; possibly semi self-mocking too. He grins at her, simple and sudden – the change in her mood is infectious.
“Possibly you are, at that,” he responds. “Why is that again?”
“You weren’t particularly clear on your reasons,” Rach says, with a smile, the first proper one he has seen tonight.
“Glad we finally solved that one then, at the end of everything.”
“Does it matter?” Rach says, querying. There is no rancour in the question; it simply is.
“Not really,” Mark answers, swigging from his cup. The liquor is strong, burning slightly as it passes down his throat. Proper firewater. He coughs slightly, as Rach pats him swiftly several times on the back.
“Okay?” she asks, then frowns, brow creasing. “Bugger. Stupid question. Scratch that.”
“Just come here,” Mark says. He has been looking into the distance, towards the skyline. The tide is turning, though they have time before they are done yet. He holds out a hand. Rach moves closer, cuddling into the circle of his arm, wrapping her own around him in return. There is a slight chill as the waves move nearer to the shore, though they are warm enough, huddled together. There is a murmur from the distant revellers, celebrating or commiserating in their own fashion, as they sit, waiting. No need for words between them. Not any more.
Another piece for Luminous Creatures Week Nine after a slight break. I enjoyed writing there again this week and some great stories from everyone else across at the site too!