The smell of the sea came in off the water. They sat around a white tablecloth, on the porch of Ran’s house. Alli had put out the long, silver candlesticks. Beyond the wooden railing, tufts of beach grass flailed in the wind.
A full moon rose in the east, a crisp, silver disk floating in the pink and cyan haze, the end of another perfect summer day. Ran came out in a dress shirt holding a Merlot and two wine glasses aloft.
As they nursed the glasses, the orb of the sun slipped below their view. The evening’s last seagulls landed and pecked away at sand dollars.
They had spent the afternoon combing the beach with a metal detector, found in the basement of Ran’s house – just looking for old coins. Their search yielded an assortment of beer bottle-caps and a rusted bottle opener, “Courtesy of the patrons of some party,” Ran said.
Alli brought out the baked chicken and Ran got the baguette. She had bought the loaf at Maison Kayser, before they had left the city this morning. She cut some for the meal and broke her portion in half.
Turning the stem of her wine glass, Alli watched rabbits bound in and out of the dune grass. “What do you think about checking out the abandoned house, by the inlet?” she asked.
“Can we bring our metal detector?” Ran joked.
“Sure,” Alli laughed, “Electronic thermometers for cold spots. Radar guns. Infrared goggles. Anything.”
The last vestiges of the sun had disappeared. Only red light remained. “One day, I will teach you how to surf,” Ran said, looking out at the waves.
“Night surfing too?” Alli grinned.
Ran looked back at her, “Whatever you want.”
They cleared away the plates, folded up the tablecloth, retreated inside to the retro, floral-print couch. “Festive,” Alli remarked, “When did you get this?”
“Maybe five years ago,” Ran mused, “A going-out-of-business clearance sale.”
They sat down and watched cable on the ancient wooden set Ran had rigged up to play today’s TV. She had gutted it, cleaned out the old parts, and put the pieces of a new TV into the old case, “New wine in old skins,” Ran had explained. It still worked.
The glare of the TV shone into the night, as breakers crashed onto the shore.
Seapony – “Blue Star”
R.E.M. – “Crush with Eyeliner”