It seemed an escape, this one night with family, an escape from the grief and awkwardness of the week before the funeral. It filled her with a sense of completion, of wholeness. Here in this place where one can rent a makeshift home, a place to hide from the troubles of a permanent life. She even found herself smiling. The air tasted like chlorine and smelled like the rain that pelted the kidney-shaped pool in waves. Kids revelled in it, wild as the woods behind the limestone wall. Their shrieks and squeals of joy distracted her momentarily from the disconnection she felt. It wasn’t their fault, just as it wasn’t hers, and would fade (she hoped) just like the grief. It sat in her belly like an ephemeral toad.
Against the darkening storm clouds the skeletons of pine trees swayed, dancing and mimicking the giddy energy of the kids, though perhaps in a slightly more reserved, tree-like way. It amplified the girls’- her sisters- connection to the world. In a flash of almost omnipotent awareness, the eldest stood up on the edge of the pool, still, her arms stretched wide as she tilted her face to receive the cool rain. She breathes deep with the ghost of a smile, a piece of this wild, beautiful world. These few seconds seemed to last an eternity, a perfect snapshot of the deific nature of children, before she falls back into the water with a gleeful shout. Her voice is silenced beneath the waves and then she surfaces, tittering like a bird.
The writer listens to the calls of crows from the trees behind the wall. She feels drawn to the wilds, to the freedom and madness that only children seem to possess. She knows that across the wall all she will find is more of this world and not the wilderness she sees in her mind, but somehow, her childish self is still inside her, whispering to her of the lands beyond the trees.
“What are you writing about, Nel?”
“Nothing, ‘Nay. Just writing. Writing for writings’ sake.”
“Oh… Okay. Love you.”
“… Love you too.”