It was early August, so every time the wind picked up we all had to clutch to our light jackets to keep warm. We’re all sitting in the yard of a house that isn’t there anymore. We’re sitting at a glass table, the underside etched with a pattern of leaves. The arms of the rod-iron chairs are rusting, and somebody has tried to spray paint over the rust.
In the yard, the table sits atop a deck of old wood, so old and waterlogged over the years that it resembles driftwood. The light near the French doors to the back of the house paints a sketched shadow that falls across half of our faces. The speakers screwed to the wall play all of our favorite songs.
The girl sitting closest to the house, she has long brown hair with gentle, natural curls. Her face is soft and glowing with makeup. She’s not from the area, and she’s on the phone connected to three-hundred miles away telling somebody how she really needs to go on a diet.
Nobody here really cares for each others’ company, we all just find it a little too early to turn in.
It’s about twelve o’clock, midnight. I’m wearing my favorite shirt, and it’s just a t-shirt. This early August night and it’s starting to get colder. The yard we’re in, it borders the sea, but there’s no beach here. There’s just a bulkhead, the same wood as the deck but it’s less weathered.
At the edge of the yard there’s a well-kept garden. In the garden there are the kind of plants with seeds, small like fluffs of cotton. Not the weeds, but the kind that you would make wishes on when they blew away. Wishes made when you were young, where things were more simple. When wishes weren’t as desperate, as important.
Wishes weren’t second-chances.
When silence sputtered from the speakers, we were all forced to make small conversation. Use little wit and we’d all crack a small laugh and a half-smile. The kinds where your mouth pulls apart into a weak smile, but you still have that awkward, uncomfortable look on your face. When the better, faster songs came on the time moved faster. When the sad songs came on we all tried to learn to forget our problems. Everybody got quiet at first, then forced conversation harder then when there was silence to cope with something we didn’t want to think about.
With the lights turned off now, there’s only light from the neighboring yards. The hammock, at the opposing side of the yard as the garden, sways back and forth in the wind. The stripes on the hammock match the rocks on the ground. This was no mistake.
It’s cold and again, silence sputters from the speakers. I’ve had nights that I will never forget. In a year coming, this house will be gone. This yard will be redone. Along with it, all the memories of the nights we’ve spent out listening to the sea. Listening to the wind chime.
When the light was turned back on, it was harder to see the stars. And every time the wind picked up, it blew a thousand wishes from the garden.