I’m dedicating this to Anna and Michael, wishing them all the happiness they can find in each other and a long life together. This is my DFQWBS gift to them; I know the story was a long time coming, but I guess it was a breech birth. Turned out healthy and happy in the end.
It’s more literary fiction than fairytale-tastic, I’m afraid. Do forgive me.
An Afternoon of Summer
As morning sidestepped into afternoon, the four of them had been joking that the summer of 2013 was today. Around lunchtime, they were pulling chairs from the kitchen out into the yard, saying the same phrases to each other again and again – sure isn’t this grand, sure isn’t it great to be us, God this is mighty, what a day. Caitríona rolled up her t-shirt sleeves and PJ bottoms, Sandra and Claire reappearing in faded cut-offs and just their bras, John taking his t-shirt off, baring his farmer’s tan to the light of day for the first time in 10 months or so.
They slagged each other about their raw-chicken-pale skin, cranking up the radio for a dance when a good song came on, scrunching up their faces at the sky as if a show of determination would store the sunlight up inside them, let them hold on to it through the next winter.
Sandra dragged John up from the stone patio floor where he had lain down, laughing and dancing cheesy 70s moves to cover up his awkward dancing and any embarrassment he might have felt as he moved stiffly in the light that seemed to slow everything down.
He stopped, turning to the table for first a sup of water and then his mug of tea, twisting back to her where she was pop locking alone to the shrieking laughter of the other two and the smooth stream of the Backstreet Boys’ autotune.
“Hey, Sandra,” He said.
“What?” She caught in her breath so she wouldn’t sound gaspy, looking over her shoulder at him, wondering like lightning if this was finally it.
“Will you marry me?”
She stepped into his smile, giving him jazz hands, saying yes to the applause of the others and she taught him how to dance as the afternoon light dwindled into evening.