September First

All day with a hoop they played,
A simple thing. An old favourite.
Hundreds of years a favourite.

They migrate to a jump rope, as turns were taken, until a ball entered the equation and the smack as it bounced created a tune that we, grown ups, remembered well from our own childhood.

They’re grasping the last few real days of summer with hands that had capably and carelessly flung time in May away.
Sure didn’t we all imagine that the holidays would last forever?

A chill has settled on the September day, early as it is, and short sleeves have been covered by fleece lined tops.
But still they ramble about the yard, homework, lessons a hindrance, have been disregarded as autumn’s first day begins.

And they sense the change as much as each bird and mammal does, and gather up their time while they can – a harvest of play to get through the long winter day.

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The First Time After

Dust motes swirled through the sauna like air and Beth sighed. She raised a tanned arm and wiped the beads of sweat from her brow. Squinting out of the window of the room she sighed again, then slumped back in her chair. Then her bright blue gaze landed on the mini bar. She licked her dry lips ineffectively, and then reluctantly turned her head.
Not tonight. she whispered to herself. Not tonight.

Tonight was a gift to herself, a promise she had finally kept and it had been a long time coming.

I can’t. No. I can’t! It’s been over a year. she got up and opened the window wider. It didn’t make any difference to the clammy temperature. It didn’t ease the itch under her skin. The burning urge to go home hit her. Home was safe, everything she loved, everything she knew was there. The buzz of her phone on the locker caused her to jump and she flung her tiny frame across the king size hotel bed. Of course it was him.
Her slim fingers flew across the keys and dropping the phone she rolled onto her back, the bones of her corset pinching her waist.
it’s done now. No going back. staring up at the ceiling she pulled a breathful of stale air deep. Slowly she released it and sat up, then she went to the mirror.
She still looked good, despite the shadows under her eyes, the slight sagginess here and there. Swiftly she reapplied her gloss, as if she’d been born doing it and smoothed down her hair. The humidity was playing havoc with it and she was now regretting not curling it.
But she knew he wouldn’t mind. He would be glad just to have her to himself. Not to share the bed with anyone else for a change.

Beth relaxed her shoulders and slipped her dress on, pulling the luscious fabric over her breasts and hips. Then she slid her feet into the high heels she knew he loved, although he’d never say it.

She smiled at her reflection. This is a good idea, it is. A sharp rap on the door interrupted her thoughts and she rushed to open it, staggering slightly in the heels. It had been a while since she’d last worn them.

His broad frame filled the doorway and took her breath away. Navy suits him, she thought as her eyes raked over his figure. His eyes crinkled into a smile and he stepped in, his presence taking up so much space in the small hotel room.

You look beautiful. his deep voice rumbled and she shivered in anticipation. Gorgeous. Good enough to eat! Are you ready?

Swallowing nervously Beth pointed at the phone.

I just want to call home, just to check in, say goodnight… her voice trailed off as he took the phone gently from her.

Beth, they’ll be fine, they’re with your parents, it’s only one night. he kissed her head. And it’s only dinner, if you’re worried after – we’ll ring then.
Beth leaned on him, the woody scent of his aftershave stirring something inside her. She’d forgotten this, the way he felt under a crisp shirt, how his stubble rasped against her skin, how it felt to be pressed against him.
Braver now, she reached up and pulled him down to kiss his smiling mouth.

Yes, about afterwards… she slid the dress from her shoulders. His expression of surprise told her it all, and she knew then that she could have a dozen children, be stretch marked from ear to ankle and bedraggled, and that he’d still love her. She knew she had made the right decision.
Leaving the kids at home had been hard, finding herself again had been tougher.
But she knew in her heart that finding themselves again would be the best.

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