Well, to say that I didn’t write yesterday (as I am writing this on the 3rd) is an untruth. I have just this moment put the finishing touches to the ‘Toe-in-the-Water’ Radio Show (this one is episode 3) that I have been writing, producing, editing, etc. for the last three months. This involves a considerable amount of brain-usage and correlation on my part, though I would like to add ‘I love it!’ Anyway, rather than repeat Day 1 and a step-by-step guide to me and my writing, I thought that a jigsaw story from scratch of about a 1,000 words (pieces) could be just what was needed on a cold and bleary Sunday afternoon. I shall attempt to make it interesting and of worth. I shall edit the story before posting, so it won’t be a ‘S-o-C’ effort (we can try that later) but it will be within the scope of an idea from scratch to 1,000 words in a relatively short space of time. Trying to keep it succinct and cohesive is my aim. Title? Let me think a second, perhaps a phrase on Radio 4 Extra as I lunch will inspire a Title – and the story!
Okay! The story is written and I have not carried out too much editing. 1,000 words under the title of ‘Nice 19**’ Here it is:
The sun shone. Breath was easy. Times were good.
How could this go wrong? Have you ever had the feeling that by saying something, then that ‘something’ happens? I am yet to verify if there is any truth in the matter, but there could be a first time.
Not to stay in the sun too long (or at least to take the appropriate creams; wearing of hats; keeping to the shade) is always common sense where a lighter-skinned person is concerned. I ran true to form and recognised exactly when my time was right for departure – I knew when to leave.
In the bar I ordered my usual mix – it was served sufficiently chilled – and retired to the shaded veranda.
Seated, and with my initial thirst quenched, I was joined at my table by an attractive young lady of a Scandinavian lineage that weaved back indirectly to the Swedish royal family (a minor line) from the sixteenth century.
“Are you bored with Nice, yet?” she posed the question without needing to add the codicil of: ‘Because if you are bored of Nice, you are bored of Life!’
“I shall never be so afflicted.” I replied, with an accompanying tilt of my glass – the offer of one for my ravishing companion.
“I have never known it so quiet; for the time of year. There aren’t usually waiters hovering to fulfil your immediate needs – even here!”
I had noticed the changes that this season had brought. My initial acclimatisation to Nice had missed some of the subtler nuances of change, but even my corrugated brain had realised the truth. The surface vision of a ‘Paradise on Earth’ had been undermined by the people themselves. Nice hadn’t altered, but the people had less ‘joie de vivre’ and more a ‘danse macabre’ about them.
To explain why things had shifted from the normal state of affairs would be altogether a futile exercise. Times have evolved and the past (though often coming back to ‘rattle our lives’) is a different place. If you haven’t lived there you will have no idea of exactly what the passing of, even a short amount of time, achieves.
“Maybe next year we could try one of the new, up-and-coming destinations. I hear some of them are almost bearable.”
The tone I heard in her voice signalled a turn in the conversation.
“Yes, my… vitality; what is it that have you wearing upon your mind that is so pursuant to your tension?”
“The children. What is to become of them?
“Any children in particular? I have viewed few of any sort here in all of our many visits.”
“Oh, you well know what children I am worried about.”
“But, we have no children yet, my dear. Our lives are entwined with just the two of us. Children are for the future.”
She held her hands clenched and twisted her soft gloves for al she was worth. Her eyes looked up and into mine. I was moved to a feeling of the deepest love that a man can have for his wife.
“But… what if war should come? How would the world be during that time? How many years could it last? What would remain afterwards for us to cling to?”
“So many questions, Lily. I have no answers that are purely speculative. We live today and can plan for a future. But… tomorrow may see a different sun rise upon a different Empire… or no Empire at all.”
Lily looked as if her eyes would soon start to well and leak tears; but, instead she drew herself tighter together and stood. She looked around; taking in all of the panoramic splendour there was, studying with intense detail the least and most of this ‘Paradise-soon-to-be-Lost?’.
“Lily!” I spoke calmly – after I saw that she had completed a circuit of the bay’s almost dioramic quality. She had been capturing for eternity the place that we loved so deeply. It may never be the same again after this summer had capitulated – maybe for ever.
“Is there no place where war does not eventually find it’s secret calm and destroy it for ever?”
“It seems likely that there is nowhere safe from the ravages of war… or time… sadly, that is the truth of life. I know that sounds very morbid in its philosophy, but we can’t bury our heads in the sand to the worlds’ events. Even today the newspaper brings us the news of an assassination in some tiny country of an unknown leader whose death will, like the mythical beat of a butterfly’s wing in Brazil, cause the ripples of effect to grow large.”
“Oh, Edward, my love, if only we could go back to that summer seven years gone and stay there forever.”
“If only, indeed. But, who, in truth, can say that: what will happen, will not bring a summer seven years hence that we would love even more – and with our children?”
“Oh, but that we could be sure of a future – even at the end of days having lived our lives and looking back upon our journey – knowing that it would all be okay.”
She fell silent. The thoughts travelling in her head, seeking order and acceptance; understanding and acknowledgment.
I stood also, taking the opportunity to leave a generous gratuity next to the empty glasses. My hand settled gently on Lucy’s shoulder and her hand moved to hold it.
The early evening was soon to be falling upon us and with it the quietness that is serene in its calming fashion. They had forecast storms heading this way later. That may be so, but I had a feeling that even if the weather was to find us here soon, the real storm that was destined to follow and dwarf the local downpour would be of a decisive nature that changed the way of life just like 1914 did to 1913.
I held Lily close as the bay lost a little lustre.
And there it was.
A little vignette of a moment in two characters fictional history – but, definitely a possible world and scenario, I think.
So, who actually has the time to sit at a screen or typewriter or even a word processor and create stories? I know that I am in a lucky position at the moment to be able to do my writing often. It has not always been the case. Life sometimes gets in the way of the creative processes. And sometimes priorities are slanted towards living the life, rather than scribing the dream onto paper (or screen).
That is probably all that I am going to be able to write today as other demands on my time mean that I must leave this writing thang and socialise. Back tomorrow for a further glimpse. Bye!