#FridayFlash Flash

Some characters from two weeks ago asked for another outing.

Emily and Eddie were baiting lightning on the quay, and it was forked. Across the bay the flashes lit up midnight townlands in isolated glimpses as if God with torches was looking for his keys in the eternal driveway. Here. There. This way a bit. Further back.

When the breeze still had air in it they knew they were okay. They wore t-shirts and jeans and Emily felt the solid beam of his arm around the outside of hers. He felt the seam of her jeans against his thigh, he leaned down and kissed the edge of her hair. Her calves lick curl lifted, shook and died. When the thunder smothered them they knew they were chancing it. They kissed completely. At the end of the quay the wires crackled. All Emily wanted to do was swim, dive-bomb off the pier and sink in, watch the lightning experimentally dance on top of the water.

Eddie was leaving at the end of the summer. He was filled up with love for her; he just didn’t know he had to do anything with it. She was loathe to count the days. Her Dali calendar was disgruntled by her apparent indifference. But there was a lot you could ascertain from the periphery. Time was flashing by.

If her father was the air traffic controller and her mum was the girl who delivered the sandwiches and coffee then she fell below the radar. Emily flipped the axis of 24/7 and slept in a honeyed bed, roamed the black night with confidence and fervour. But if it were the other way around and her mother was the mistress of flights and near misses then she was sussed and she strung out the summer with Eddie under the heavy lidded gaze of her mother’s restless vigilance.

But they did the beer on the beach after dark. One of the lads, giant limbs, small head, acted the flasher for the whitehead bus tour sea front promenaders. He used hen party props, chocolate penises melting in the humidity. They collected tuts and shaking heads and the odd raucous cackle. They slid into clubs once in a while when the rain drove them inside. When midnight passed, in the tribal stomping, she lit up her phone and it was already August. Eddie was slouched in a corner on a slope of coats. She found his hand and she made him dance. There was no rain here only sweat, brine and coffee.

Emily found out she was epileptic on the dance floor. The strobe lighting sent her into a spinning fit, flit, flit; flashbacks of dream sequences and recent dalliances.

When she awoke she was cold, shudder huddling while the world switched on again, in portions, vision, feeling, sound. She had become a small creature at the bottom of a mountain of human concern. The dance music was still playing; drumbeat dissonance, out of time with the trotting of her heart.

Three weeks later the gang wanted to know if they were going to cut her brain in half.  Someone else asked if that would make her schizophrenic. They were on the beach again and the nights came quicker now, her mother’s shift had lengthened and the fact of epilepsy added a high note to her voice when she said see you later to Emily. Across the bay the lighthouse spun, flashed, there, gone, there, gone.

Eddie was leaving tomorrow. Emily pressed into his biking leathers. He was going to take her for a drive somewhere but he hadn’t decided yet.  They were going to stay out all night. She didn’t care. Her mother could jump. You only had one life and this was it.

They went into the mountains. The bike roared and so did the wind. Eddie sang something but the sound was swallowed whole. They paused for a view of the city, like stars they said; but the stars were meek in comparison. They went further until the string behind them broke; they went on like a prayer without rosary beads.

It was just them. Turned this way, at the crest there was no city. There was gorse, stones. They sat on granite. His-her hands found warm places. In his silence was the remembrance of his voice. In her stillness was the echo of her fervour. She drifted into him and thought it could be the epilepsy. He drunk her in and thought of nothing.

They saw flashes, out of the black; ripples of light, undulations snaking the sky. The aurora borealis this far south, they weren’t meant to be there.

In the morning they went home, the cold in their bones and the light in their heads. Her father was up early on a ladder fixing the flashing. Her mother was drowning in coffee. She hadn’t slept. Her fury was thunder and Emily felt it overhead. But all she could see were scenes, flashes of her and Eddie, on a beach, on a mountain, dancing like one person in the club. Then him on his own, driving away till whenever.

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17 comments

  1. Just lovely first sentence that introduces reader to rest of this wonderfully written story.

    Young love, defiance, and facing the consequence of that defiance with “light” in her head.

    Beautiful lyrical imagery throughout the piece.

  2. Alison – again I am stunned by the beauty of your prose, and how well you observe the ‘small things’ that create our biggest moments…

    Love it!
    Kellyx

  3. How wonderful to bring back some secondary characters from another story, and focus on them. Great description of a first romance, and the ignorance that comes with concentrating only on that and not on the parents whose only fault is to care… I really enjoyed this. Hope you will write more stories including this group of characters???

  4. Wow I really love your writing. The images are so vivid and you can identify immediately with the characters. Have to say, I feel so sorry for the parents though! 😉

    It really brings back the memories of being young and impulsive. Fab.

  5. They’re terribly sweet together. I particularly got into the juxtaposition of events and details, like him leaving tomorrow followed by her pressing into his biking leathers.

  6. This is beautiful, Alison. Your prose is so poetic that it drew me in, and I immediately felt as if I were standing close to the two young lovers, secretly observing them, rather than reading a story about them.

  7. Loved the prose and lyricism as ever Alison. “They kissed completely” so simple and yet so evocative.

    Guess god doesn’t have a remote control locking device yet!!

    Marc Nash

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. It’s great to be a part of #FridayFlash, I love the freedom to just go for it and see what happens. If I haven’t caught up with those of you who posted stories this week yet, I’ll be sure to. I do agree with the comments about the poor parents by the way but I think I’m still in the mode of reliving my youth, not yet quite the parent of teenagers!

  8. Alison, This is wonderful! Your writing is expressive and subtle, it flourishes and constricts. Your freedom with words is inspiring to me. I loved how the story comes into focus very slowly and yet in so few words you bring it to a pin point of a moment that is crystal clear.

    I wasn’t thinking about the parents, either. This story was all about new found independence. The parents will just have to deal.

    One final note, have you heard of a book called ‘Ice Age,” by Kristen Reed? Just based on the character, Flash reminded me of it. I’m recommending it to everyone, it’s excellent, but not yet available in the US. ~ Olivia

  9. Wow Alison, there are so many great lines here – “a prayer without rosary beads” is just one favorite. I absolutely love your style, how you just let go and be the characters. You could teach us all a thing or two about expressionism – indeed, you are!

  10. Beautifully written. You had me smiling at “Across the bay the flashes lit up midnight townlands in isolated glimpses as if God with torches was looking for his keys in the eternal driveway.”

    I danced through the rest.
    ~2

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