Rolling memories

Rolling memories

He stopped just before the last step, turned back to face her; they had been hiking for three and a half hours, starting at Shoreham Village. She halted alongside him and turned to admire the suddenly elevated view of the village below surrounded by wheat or barley fields. “Which one is it?” she’d asked during their last walk together. “There’s a slight difference between the two; how about you look it up and tell me during our next hike,” he’d replied.

 

“So,” he said at the top of the hill, “is it wheat or barley?”

 

She took flight along the ridge, laughing, trying to distract him from the task she failed to do. When he caught up with her, she huffed: “It’s about time we stopped for lunch, don’t you think?”

 

He shook his head, and said, “One or two more fields to pass through. Is someone getting tired?”

 

Across the abandoned golf course, up another steep mound before they reached the building he knew she’d love to photograph. The reason he brought her to this part of Kent. Through thick shrubbery and trees, she spotted the derelict: Three large buildings close to each other sprayed with graffiti and strangled by ivy.

 

“Is this where we’ll be having our lunch?” She didn’t wait for him to answer. “Let’s look around first, eat and then photograph,” she said, skipping ahead.

 

Not removing his eyes from her, he followed her, watching her, feeling her delight. She looked back at him a couple of times, grinning and laughing.

 

‘Through here,” she called out to him. They walked around the first building, in between the second and the third, through entangled bushes the height of the structures, crunching over broken tiles and glass, out towards the back – the back that opened up on to a patch of land big enough for six cattle to comfortably graze.

 

“The perfect spot,” she said, removing her camera bag from her back and dropping it along with her body to the ground, falling amongst the lush wispy grass. He sat down next to her and removed the lunch he’d prepared for them from his rucksack.

 

“This is divine,” she said, biting into the wholemeal roll enclosing the salmon fillet and rocket.” He opened the container of feta, cherry tomatoes, olives and coriander smothered in his homemade honey, mustard and balsamic dressing and handed her a fork. “I could get used to this,” she said, smiling.

 

After lunch they lay with their heads on her bag, watching the smoke trails ribbon through a sky of perfect blue.

 

“Every moment is an experience of discovery,” he said.

 

She turned on her side to face him, gazing at the profile of his face, while listening to him speak, allowing each word to sink in.

 

He turned towards her, slid his sunglasses on top of his head and looked at her. “Does this mean anything to you?” He didn’t wait for her to answer. “It does, I know it does – it speaks right to you. This much I know.”

 

“No matter what I’ve experienced, the good and the bad are all precious gifts given to me… by… life, I suppose – because of my natural desire to discover me, who I am at every turn.”

 

He released a laugh, not his usual bellowing laugh from the depths of his core, but one more resembling a sigh, a sigh of relief as if someone for the first time had finally gotten his world and what he believed in. “It’s taken me this long to get it.”

 

“You got it a long time ago but didn’t fully appreciate it. What do you think drew me to you in the first place? All those years ago.”

 

“Umm… That’s what I truly miss about you. Never mind your enthusiasm for everything and your permanent face of pure happiness.” He took the stick of long grass he was playing with and used it to tickle her ear.

 

She slapped the air, trying to grab it from him but he was too quick. “Tell me more about what you miss…” She noticed he’d said the word ‘miss’ and not ‘missed’, present, not past.

 

“I often wondered if you were from this Earth, but rather from a planet that no mortal could ever comprehend, and was deliberately put here to guide everyone who crossed your path. Wisdom beyond your years; wiser than I will ever be in this lifetime.”

 

“Who exactly put me here?” Both her eyes and smile teased him.

 

“The gods. All the gods devised a plan to first create you and then bring you to us; a stunning being with an old soul, an indestructible soul.”

 

“I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. Actually, I thought about visiting my friends one day, not this soon, and if we did see each other you’d be happy, settled with a woman perfectly suited to you, and with a child even.”

 

“I’d given up – five years ago, I gave up on ever settling down…”

 

“What? Did my leaving affect you that badly?” She said, further teasing him.

 

Ignoring her comment, he said, “And what about you? I thought you’d have made your dream come true by now, snapped up by one of the hundred…?”

 

Their stormy yet passionate relationship had ended because she needed to return home. She couldn’t take another minute being away from where she belonged, where there was a memory on every street corner. Then, he had promised to wait for her. He had kept every promise made to her. She had said she didn’t think she’d ever be back and truly believed this. And now here she was, back-back in lives that had meant so much to her and meeting new lives that were starting to mean as much.

 

“The search is still on; I didn’t think it would be this challenging…”

 

“All I’ve done is create music, sheets and albums of music.”

 

“I want to hear it all.”

 

“I have you to thank for it all; you gave me the reason I’d been needing…”

Memories will roll

As we stroll

These pebbled shores

For you know

It’s you I adore

And if that ain’t happiness

Then what is…

 

After all those beautiful and all those harsh moments through which I had endured, my faith in life had increased by leaps and bounds. I had comprehended that either pleasure or pain are gifts given by life to those who seek to find themselves.

 

He didn’t know if he could have a child, physically, and not for the desire of wanting one. When she had asked him how he felt about adoption he said he could never love someone else’s child as he would his own flesh and blood. The first thing she’d do if she couldn’t have a child was adopt one.

 

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