Holiday Photograph

'Holiday Photograph' was published in the UK National Flash Fiction Day 2015 anthology Landmarks.

We are wearing matching sunglasses. Behind us, the water is so clear it isn’t even blue any more, like gelatine. My hair is wet, which means I’ve already swum. In the picture, you can’t tell that for most of the day we were both grumpy, and we got lost trying to find the right road, and I was sulking in the car. In the picture, you can’t tell that by the time we got down to the beach we weren’t really speaking. It wasn’t even that nice a day really, it was April and the weather was moody and unpredictable, lots of the time it was over cast and kind of cool. But we drove your stepdad’s SVU down onto the sand and that was kind of fun and there was no one around because it was April and the weather was crappy. I’d made up my mind to swim anyway, and I could be really stubborn about stuff like that. We stopped grizzling at each other and I got in the water and you mucked about with your camera. I traipsed along the water’s edge, picking at seaweed and bits of shell. I took off my bikini top, because I’d never been sort of naked in sort of public before. The sun came out and everything became too bright to look at. We drove along the beach some more. We fucked in the car with the windows down and you tasted like salt and the sand on our skin was uncomfortable but I’d never done it in a car or sort of public before. In the picture, you can’t tell that after that we drove up off the beach and got lost again trying to find the cabin your aunt used to rent in the summers, and then we fought all the way back to Perth. In the picture, you can’t tell that things are already well on the way to being shitty and broken between us. In the picture, the sky is endless and clear and we are smiling and wearing matching sunglasses that hide our eyes.