They could be lovers, perhaps are. Twin orchid blossoms, olive-faced, dark-haired, on one small stiff branch pulling themselves closer.
“I woke early,” she says. They sit at a round café table under a fat green parasol with bubbles on one side and a sun-bleached yellow “Perrier” on the other.
“Again? Not me. I can’t pull myself out of bed at 11 these days.”
Over the hill the road banks in a small curb separating it from the beach, only the sand has drifted like a desert expanding towards the rows of white and silver cars, the arc and angles of taffy-colored cafés and restaurants. A toddler squeals, running barefoot over a sandcastle near the water. A yellow bucket hangs on the arm of a teenager.
“Even at 11 it was a full-on struggle, all hands on board kinda thing.” He chuckles in that way he does, low and manly, unlike his boyish figure.
The girl seems to smile then, as if this image amuses her, the battle to throw off the white sheets, his smooth, thin limbs, something about them inevitably vulnerable, sucked back into the mattress nest, his head pulled onto the pillow by a magnetic force. By then, she’d had her cups of tea, watched the day break over the slip of sea, the sails tonguing sky put up, pulled back down as tiny dinghys waddled over the waves, anchored or just left adrift while their occupants breakfasted or fished. Silvery lines cast out, dreams drawn back in. Her eyes close and open like tides.
“I can’t understand what you do with all your time!” He stares directly at her, awaiting the response to some imperative. Her lids drift closed revealing a subtle powder shimmer, open as the sun sneaks rays under the flaps of their parasol.
“Isn’t it a beautiful day?” She’s pleased with everything. Her mood contagious.
He reaches towards her hand then pulls back. As if some rule has been written on a heavy tablet, his smile is not as light as hers, his gestures not so free. A sparrow flits by his feet beside twigs and some fallen leaves, darts off. He’ll pay their tab then return to the cool interior of his tiny office.
“The entire summer’s been beautiful,” he says.