Siesta Time

Author: Kieran O`Brien

A couple meet in an oak wood. Subsequently they spend the Summer in each other`s company.

In a one and a half storey shanty cottage, under corrugated iron, we lay on a stolen misty afternoon. A dripping fuchsia bush framed in a dormer lit semi-attic window. A wet black crow and his family clawed their way, scratching the wavy tin. Pigeons cooed. Cream paint peeled from sloping ship-lap soffits. A single light connected to a bakelite switch which never worked behind a framed two pannelled door. I remember white roses on a pink ceramic door knob. A brass escutcheon and the smallest chest of drawers we had ever seen. We had earlier counted swallows on the old station house telegraph wires. Yes, you could hear Autumn everywhere. If you listened very carefully. The cottage was known as Pearly Gates.
In a seaside sessile oak grove where the bluebells flood the dappled floor in May, I met you standing. No coincidence. Many villagers are homesick for bluebells, come early Summer. We pondered on the annual miracle of that prodigious spectacle of blue. We searched our respective vocabularies for one word. Bigger words did not seem appropriate. We rejected astonishing, marvellous, extraordinary. We even tried made up words like stupefactious and fanbrillious. Nothing would do justice to the waving azure of a trillion cups of blue. We settled for a simple word bliss. When all else fails, stay simple. A clear welling up of what one could describe as happiness came over me. I suppose you could say I felt a sort of mild ecstasy or even a hint of rapture. Without getting too maudlin about it and before we go mad altogether and start saying things like euphoria, elation or even seventh heaven, we settled on bliss which we had shortened from blissful joy. So, you see, that was how we began our Summer of bliss.
Deep in “Raven`s Glen”, on a warm dry day, under the gaze of a perigrine, I kissed you by the waterfall. Later we climbed the cascade and fell asleep in the heather. Our rucksacks became pillows in the heather all through that Summer haze. We scrambled over scree, granite, black peat hags and old red sandstone. We bathed in meandering valley streams. We walked the seashore, swam in sparkling phosphorescance on a moon lit night in a sea-shell hole dear to midnight lovers. We heard the cackle of the grouse and the soaring joy of the skylark.
Now became timeless. Time stopped its shrivelling. We entered that deathless place, behind the invisible hoarding of suspended reality. This eternal, changeless, undying, everlasting place is only known to lovers. It has been written about since time began. If I was a poet, maybe, I might have come close. Let me say this, however, when you are there, you are in no doubt. What had begun as a suggestion of ecstacy reached a blinding summit of unforseen joy. We sailed “The Mermaid” to “Roaring Water Bay”. An ageing hippie tried to steal you from me. Yes!, he had seen the bluebells in your eyes but they were not his bluebells. You were unaware because you had gone deeper into Now, so deep that the very thought used to make you tremble.
Through August on the porch of our rusty “Pearly Gates” we watched the falling stars. They seemed to fall in to the red lightship on the far horizon. We made a thousand wishes. Drank dark red wine over the ravine that brings you down to “The Devil`s Elbow”.
The foghorn on “Seven Castles Head” brayed, one morning, early. It heralds the beginning of the Autumnal mists that at this time of year roll lazily in from the Atlantic and caress the foreshore in a sprawling embrace. Thus cold reality crept in from where we least expected it. We hesitatingly began to talk about your going back to college and my imminent appointment in the east. We spent precious days at the cottage in a frenzied lovemaking, entwined in a kind of unspoken dread of lost timelessness. Time began to accelerate, slowly at the beginning of the mists and then it oozed like the fog under the invisible hoarding and re-established itself firmly back into our reluctant souls.
In a cottage of corrugated tin called “Pearly Gates” we lay on what was to become our last stolen afternoon. The foghorn on “Seven Castles Head” brayed through swirling mist. Crow claws crawl, scratching. Wet black you wash your hair. You begin to yield to the pressures of the encroachment of the mists of time.
“What time is it”?, you ask.
“It is siesta time,” I say,”three in the afternoon.