Sat around the bonfire we look out to sea, the pier lamps reflected in the still harbour like landing lights. The sea is black like tar, the sky covered like spilled sugar in stars and the great misty sweep of the Milky Way. One side of me burns whilst the other freezes on this January midnight.
She looks over to me and passes me a can. It’s a cliche, but I literally see fire in her eyes, so I ask her to hold the pose. Her face creases and shadows form. Her lips part, teeth expose, then a twitch, a smirk, a snigger…. she laughs. Should I stop posing now? Yes, I lie.
We’d sensed the young man long before we saw him. Around the crackling fire, everything else melted away. The only difference between the stars and the lights of the town above was the colour. We beckoned him over, a can already open, a joint already rolled. He was wearing a suit, and two sleeve arms were soaking wet to the elbows.
Shivering, he cuddled the flames and shook the can to his mouth. She asked him if he was okay, and he laughed ruefully and said yes. Another lie. Turns out he’d lost his wedding ring, and plunged his hands into the sea to find it. We never asked why he wore a suit for midnight walks.
Later, we danced in a circle to remove his sins. Arms linked, he lost his blazer and his mind.