«We could, we would. Maybe we can.»

A tiny house in a field of lavender. A bunch of people, a long table with good food and different kinds of wine. Red and white, sparkling – whatever we feel like. The sun goes down and the crickets scream from the fields. We have been walking through the woods all day. Some of us have been holding hands while others kept their eyes open for blueberries. Maybe there are not even blueberries in these woods, are they in season yet?

When we arrived everyone brought their favourite books, so we would never run out of pages to read. By now all these pages are already worn out by the hands of their readers. Many had been forgotten on the porch overnight, moist and curled from thaw and the summer rain. We ran out of fresh pages to read long ago. We could create our own stories. Maybe we will.

There is a record player inside the living room, but by now the songs are mostly just playing in our heads. Sometimes I catch someone humming the one that I have just been thinking about, while lying in the grass, collecting freckles in the afternoon sun.

As it gets colder after dinner, we walk over to the nearby lake, intoxicated by the wine I sway slightly and my shoulder touches yours when I reach for the small bottle of whisky you brought along. We would finish it sitting on that old tree trunk by the water’s edge. My feet, barely touching the water, compete with the water fleas for the attention of the carps. When it starts to rain I let myself slide into the water and take a few strokes towards the middle of the lake. Maybe we should build a boat, we would anchor it in the shade of the big trees. We could.

The swallows have stopped their screaming and disappeared from the skies. In the distance, we can hear the thunder. We both know we should leave. Instead, I float on the water and watch you sitting there just smiling. I don’t dare to interrupt this second, minute, hour. I tilt my head back and lie as still as I can while I close my eyes and listen to the raindrops on the surface of the lake. A while later I can hear your body following mine. I count the seconds until you reach me.

While walking back to the house I think about the others. They probably left the table, not caring about the dishes and glasses of wine that would slowly fill with water. We might clear them up the next day or the day after. Whenever we would decide we want to drink from glasses instead of bottles again. The living room will be our shelter for the night. We hardly use the bedrooms anymore. I can’t remember the day we stripped the sheets of the beds, took the cushions and blankets to set up little forts on the living room rugs and under the steps. Hours, days and weeks start to blur into one. Time passing, while we stand still.

Somewhere in the kitchen, there is a drawer with our phones. We could easily charge one of them, look up what day it is and see what we might have missed. We stopped caring about these things long ago. Sometimes we would drive to the village on our bikes to buy food at the market. Sometimes someone ends up buying a newspaper. Attempting to read it I realise that don’t understand much of the news. Forgotten seem the days I studied French at school. We could ask someone to translate some of the words for us, but we never care enough about their meanings. Instead, you handle the old crockery, pans, knives and ladles, while I pretend to read, sitting on the kitchen counter. The air smells of vegetables and the fresh omelette that you are just about to put onto thick slices of bread. When I am finished with a page I hand it over to you, so you can use it to wrap the bread. We don’t know where we are headed for the day. Maybe the lake or the woods, maybe we will just walk a few steps so we can still see the house and watch the others wake up and have breakfast on the front porch. Maybe some of them will join us later.

I am always the first to wake up. I will be the first walking through the living room, the hallway and the kitchen. Stepping out on the porch, the first to inhale the fresh air and feel the grass still wet from the night against my legs, while the wind blows as if the sea was hiding behind the woods. It should not be too far away now. We never made it further than the lake. We could hitch a ride and just go. We could, we would. Maybe we can.


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