The Turquoise Swimsuit

A beach, 2021

We were walking west
She was walking east
Three figures at low tide
Late summer

We were on the damp but firm sand
Our ageing old soles cool
She was nearer the dunes
Ten metres north
Twenty metres distant
And closing

She was younger, much, much younger
But, then again, so many are these days

There were others on that wide, long beach
But for these slow, few seconds
They were invisible, irrelevant

It was what the colour
That caught our attention
(Well, mine.)
What it
That kept us silent
Save for the faster beating of our hearts
(Well, mine, for sure.)

My old-man sunglasses were no alibi
Complicit, in fact

As east passed west
I could only glimpse
– not gaze upon –
the swimsuit
and all that it told and promised

Could not look back
Could not turn around
Ahead, more beach, more water
More walking together – 35 years and counting

“Turquoise,” Julie says
Without missing a beat
“Yes, you’ve always loved turquoise
Haven’t you!”

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