Starlight Conversation.

They sat on the doorstep at the back of the flats every evening filling the jam jar ashtray and trading hushed nothings. Autumn, she sat with her knees drawn and clasped. She stretched her legs long before her, silk pouring from them, on June evenings such as this one. They had been joined by another of late, a pipistrelle, she said. But he was yet to see it.

The tiny creature foraged the dim garden air. It fluttered, mostly unseen, over the shadowed soft shapes of the buildings and the couple and the bins by the gate at the back of the yard. It passed, briefly, in and out of the yellow boxes of light and in front of and behind the sheet on the clothesline.

Their vespers barely touched the brickwork. The flats had once been a chapel, then a mission for seamen. They peered into the darkness and the stars began to show themselves. The creature moved into another space – somewhere out into the night.

If he said that he saw the pipistrelle, too (and he did want to), she might take up that string and pass it back to him and, to and fro, they could fashion something between them; a cats’ cradle, an new intimacy; the intricate, old game of lovers.

But, suddenly, she says, “It’s gone.

He squints into the dark yard, the sky beyond, sees the evening star slide behind cloud.

A minute passes and he says nothing. He has embarked on a little poem in his head; something romantic and thoroughly hackneyed.

They sit in the silence awhile and she struggles with the lighter. It sparks, but doesn’t ignite. By the time he reaches the fourth line, he has misremembered the first and the construct becomes confused.

“Look,” he says. He touches her wrist with the back of his hand, en route to pointing to the sky, but the cloud has become blanket and the planet has disappeared.

“It’s gone,” he says.

“I hate these things.”

She hands him the lighter, picks up the cigarette and leans into the flame.

She looks beautiful within the brief cup of light and it’s as if he can see for the first time.

35 thoughts on “Starlight Conversation.

    1. Fleeting.
      The song is one of mine, Ivor. I recorded it on a four track cassette I seem to have had forever. It employs a slightly honky sounding, out of tune acoustic, a drum machine and some snatches of Taxi Driver, The Simpsons, Michael Stipe and an old answering machine message that I also have saved, obscurely, from 1997. So, at least that never went to waste! x

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I was wondering about that when I listened to the song. It’s something a little different. I have to say, when your music gets in my head, it stays there for a very long time.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I love the imagery Nick! This line stands out for me:

    ” a cats’ cradle, a new intimacy; the intricate, old game of lovers.”

    Perfect. I can feel it, or did once or twice…

    Ken

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nick… like so much of your writing, this is absolutely stunning. So very beautiful. You deserve every award. (If only my memory/focus had been better… ayayay. The muddle/s I made…) :)) So grateful to have read your work. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nadine, you’re not leaving so early are you? The party has only really just begun! I offer you this slice of cake wrapped in tissue and thank you for coming. Safe journeys, my friend. Do pop in from time to time xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For you it has Nick… definitely. You host a beautiful party, and to me it has the air of good health and longevity… thank you for the cake, dear friend xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ouch… you’re right. I definitely don’t have what it takes to be here. Thanks for the reminder (post cake-giving)… and please know that my previous comment had been sincere… no matter how badly worded… just like my other ones here… and elsewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. (4+4…🌿 :)) 💗 That makes sense Nick. The others were/are basically teenagers, (re-)growing through whatever they had/have to grow through. 🌱💘 I still love them too. Both helpful perspectives to be able to look through, especially in the kid-raising department. 🤓🐒🤗✨ Thank you :)) ❤︎🙏🌷 xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

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