Mudlark No. 56 (2015)


They made love in the dunes by the old Air Force base—gone the war games there, gone the men who played them. Miles of high dunes, as in old films where some sunburnt Brit, garbed in white, has come to set things straight.

For years the young man had passed those dunes—she had, too—he in his gray car, she in her red. They met one night at a blues bar, had their first date on a weekday.

Was it hard to get the day off? he asked.

Don’t have it off. Had to switch shifts.

What’d you tell them?

She looked at him.

I told them I ached. That knocked him back, and for a long time he was mute as they walked those dunes, turned once in a while to look at their tracks. The wind had made a sharp ridge at the top of some dunes, swept some smooth. They chose a smooth one to spread their quilt on.

This sea’s too blue, she said, as they laid out their food, poured the red wine, leaned back.

It’s an old bomb range, you know, he said. They’ve cleaned it up, but I bet if we looked hard we’d find some shells.

So how would the headline read, she asked: “Two Felled by Sheathed Shells at the Seashore?” I’ll pass. On the other hand, if you make a pass at me...

At length, late that day, he said You know, I could just stay, end my life right here, let seagulls pick me clean, let sand blow past my bones for years, and I’d be gone—all of me, gone. I mean, don’t you just feel it?

Oh, for Christ’s sake, she said. I’m late for work.

They picked up their things, traced their tracks to the car.

Gerald Fleming | Clay Hall
Contents | Mudlark No. 56 (2015)