His eyes flickered and opened. Her eyes flickered shut. Her lips curved slightly. He settled his head on the pillow again. Morning sunlight.
It is the almost a smile, the ghost of a smile, the was that a smile, that makes the badness so sweet.
The neon sizzle from the bar last night is still behind D’s eyes. She has not slept enough; she smiles as she remembers why. The bells through the open window tell her it is Sunday, ten o’clock. She turns over and there is T again. His mouth tastes of coffee.
You smile. And I wait.
You breathe. And I wait.
You smile, no words.
I breathe and I wait.
A tall man in a splashed grey t-shirt taps a stick on his leg. A black-and-white patched dog looks pointedly into the distance away from him.
Ginger toddler twins sleep side by side in a double buggy. Finally silent, they are holding hands. Their pale parents look close to tears. Their arms hang heavy.
Four tan, brown, tan, brown dogs weave leads from two hands, over and under and over and under. The owner’s look says she is too old for this. She pulls them back and puffs out her cheeks.
A race of clouds skit, one by one, across the face of the sun. The girl’s father pulls his pullover on. She drops her ball and her face crumples. The ball rolls towards the river, picking up speed, and her father stoop dives to save it.
The patchwork dog snatches a narrow-eyed glance at the man in the t-shirt, at his stick, then fixes the distance again, shoulders pinched.
Happy loud tourists with sunglasses, good hair and warm padded jackets tumble laughing down the green mesh metal steps. Some must be couples, but it is not clear who is not.
Finally, finally, the stick whirls over the waiting dog’s head and splashes down in the river, just beyond a brief whirlpool. A yelp, one would guess of joy, and the dog is springs and tail and pointed ears and bouncing.
I smile vaguely to myself and vaguely at other people, pick up my bags and walk on. There is the sound of a dog hitting water.
Bluebell bit Foxy. Or vice versa.
The fizzy drink he threw over the snarling dogs splashed her white dress.
He should not be allowed in the park, let alone his wicked dog.
She should, well, she should….
They dragged their dogs in opposite directions, still snapping.
Later though, they smiled.
That moment when the sun comes out and
your heart relaxes.
The first rays of sun, the first unsure smile;
and the weights of the world disappear.
You smile; slow sunrise
warms across my frozen heart –
now, forever, summer.
The friends have left, the house is quiet and larger. Echoes of laughter fade. Now is the time to sit and sleep with a smile.