The conversation was over as quickly as it began

by Lara Holden

Lara is writing her first novel.  A romance.

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The temperature was unusual for the time of year, the midday sun still blanketed them with warmth despite October fast approaching.

The four of them sat, perfectly content in a small alcove between the evergreen trees.

There was a radiant breeze which smelt delicately of ferns, damp earth and the embers of the disposable bbq which was cracking as it died a few metres away.

To him it was summer, home. 

There was something in the air that day.  It felt as though anything could happen.

It was comfortable, serene and yet held a mystery and wildness none of them could fully explain.

They spent the afternoon in this hazy spot playing innumerable rounds of bullshit and drinking copious amounts of beer.  They laughed endlessly at Callum who had been showing off his new guitar skills, serenading them with rendition after rendition of ‘fairy tale lullaby’ which was, as far as they could tell, the only song he had mastered.

They spent hours mulling over those big life questions, the questions that teenagers often ponder while drunk on Sunday afternoons.

‘I don’t reckon I’ll live past 25 you know. Destined to die young,’ Alfie blurted out in a matter of fact kind of way as the penultimate game of bullshit came to a close.

‘How many of those have you had,’ said Harry, glancing, as he spoke, at the mounting pile of cans at his feet.

‘Ha’ Alfie chortled. ‘Good question, I’m serious though, always known it’

‘You’re mad Alf, don’t be so depressing,' interrupted Sophie, 'I’ll be needing you to stick around until I’m at least 83 and a half.' i

‘Yeah man, 25 is when all the fun really begins, Ill deal,’ said Harry already shuffling the deck.

The conversation was over as quickly as it began.

He thought back to that moment as he walked calmly along the Bridge, four years to the day since that afternoon.

It felt to him a life time ago and yet every moment of the day still played vividly through his memories.

His heart was beating faster than it ever had done. It was an odd sensation as his mind was so still. He could hear every pulse of the muscle in his head as though his heart was trying to remind his brain that it was still here, still alive, to recognise the life left to lead.

It didn’t matter anymore.

He reached the centre of the bridge and looked over absentmindedly at the city below. It seemed so small and insignificant from this height.

He climbed over the thick steel bars and balanced momentarily on the surface. He pressed play on his iPod and turned up the volume to drown out the wind.

All he could hear from that point forward was ‘fairy tale lullaby’.

Then he leant forward and was gone.