Although rain fell steadily and the sky overhead formed an angry bruise, the far west flamed with the rose and lemon sunset of a passionate, but aging, heart. Dinah Washington sang, “Nobody wants you when you’re old and grey.” — but the woman quickly replied, “I’m old and grey and my man still wants me.” To their right, the river flowed down to the sea only a little less grey than the heavens. Sharp gusts bothered the untidy trees that bordered the approach to the village. The month was August but it could have been November, like that other November sixty years before when Dinah sang so sweetly, so full of verve. Any time of year, a storm of passion is a storm of passion, high summer or early winter is not important. All that matters is the intensity, the obsession. And later that night the couple was obsessed, their lovemaking enhanced by the lightning’s violence, their clothes tangled with the sheets on the floor.
For breakfast the next day there was fish and a pungent soup of kale, bird peppers, and pork. Long, heavily-laden ships were passing through the seaway, seeming to scarcely move. A new day and no one remembers the rain. Late August. A strong sun. The dry scent of harvest fields where farmers drive threshers under pure skies. Only the insects are talking, disturbing afternoon’s peace. The woman and her man tentatively walk the shores of the limitless oceans of love and of fear. As the earliest maples commence to turn far in advance of the season, the couple stands on the beach of desire while cicadas sing their green song among the green leaves, sing of desire, of hunger, of their too-brief lives. That night: French kisses at a simple country inn, two tongues dancing to the rhythm of their shortened breaths, her red dress, her thick voice saying, “There, yes there!”, and throughout the darkened room the rich aroma of coffee as it brews.