Short story: The Light of Night

Worth 1000 words: Summer Herald will each day publish a short story competition entry. The winner will be announced on January 30. Picture: Simone De Peak

SHE ambled her way down the street, the soft patter of the rain on the pavement filling the air around her, the streets devoid of traffic after the post-work rush.

She quite liked it that way. The bustling nature of the work day always reminded her of what she didn’t like in humankind: the constant need, or rather the desire for more. Always looking for more money, always needing more work, no one ever quite being satisfied with what they have.

She loved the calmness of the rain, particularly against the darkness of the night sky. The full moon illuminated the ground around her, casting a soft shadow in front of her as she walked. She took her time as she strolled, unfazed by the gentle rain or the unseasonably cool summer air.

He can wait, she thought to herself, smiling at the thought of him waiting on her. Who knew how many times those roles had been reversed. She finally arrived, stopping at the door to peek inside, attempting to find him without being spotted. She spied him, sitting at a table in the corner, amusingly beside the fireplace; she was well aware of his distaste for the cold. She opened the door, catching his eye as she walked in, making her way to his table. He stood as she approached, removing a rose from his pocket, weaving it through her hair as he helped her to her seat. She toyed with his feet, playfully treading on them with her own under the table, passing the time until their food arrived.

They left the restaurant together, shivering slightly as the coolness of the air turned to a sharp chill. He took off his jacket, draping it over her shoulders to keep her warm. He took her hand, leading her down the road, unusually empty thanks to the frigid weather. They barely spoke, but what was saidwas all that was necessary. The undying smiles on each of their faces was more than enough to reflect their enjoyment. They revelled in the peacefulness of the night, “the harsh light of day” being much more than just a phrase for them. The daytime only served to remind them of the franticness of daily life, and their need to escape from it all.

They were a quiet couple, a “quaint” couple, as their friends referred to them. They were two young people more than happy to relish the simple things in life. The peaceful silence was reflective in a way, of how nothing mattered more to them than their companionship. Of all the materialistic desires either of them may have had, there was nothing they craved more than the warmth of the other.

They drifted through the park, quite literally stopping to smell the roses as they approached a small garden. They bent down among the flowers, picking a couple for each other, cherishing the simplicity yet the beauty of the garden. They cherished the awe that nature can provide, whether it be the modesty of a garden, or the grandeur of a bold animal, they were never short of inspiration. There wasn’t much that they could fail to enjoy, and in this complicated modern world that was a quality that became infectious to those around them, always being able to find gratification within their lives.

They clambered up a small hill, giggling manically as they threatened to push each other down the other side.They ran down it together, hand in hand, laughing all the way down as the wind took their hair, flailing it behind them. They collapsed into each other’s arms, pulling each other into a tight hug, sharing the scarce warmth of the night.

Arm in arm they began to walk, their shadows their only other company as they wandered down to the beach before lying down beside each other in a quiet embrace. The drizzling rain of earlier had ceased its fall, the only noise now the soft lapping of the waves, slowly creeping up the deserted shore. In the shadowy light of the moon they could make out the faintest of sights on the horizon, the ships lined up, one by one, waiting for entry into the harbour. The stars shone brightly on the cloudless night, painting an artwork across the cloudless sky.

He guided her gaze upwards, directing her sight to the masterpiece above them. They pointed out the constellations to each other, making up their own with the patterns in the sky. They couldn’t help but laugh as their ideas gradually became more and more ridiculous, their laughter the only human noise on an otherwise perfectly still night.

Their chatter became softer and softer, gradually easing to a barely audible whisper as they took in the sights before them. The purity of the night sky was something that never ceased to amaze them – the stars and the planets, millions of light years away, yet still visible as part of their own world.

The birds of night circled down around them, arising from their daytime slumber, the only moving parts to the night as the world began to close, preparing itself for the day ahead.

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