There’s a line of mountains that we know we’ll never reach again.
Once or twice a month we used to wake up at dawn and dress ourselves, handing clothes to one another. Yours is the second drawer, mine’s the top. Pants and balled hiking socks. By eight we could be almost there, holding the bar on the bus seat, as excited as children. The bus driver saying the stop slow and sleepy, sunglasses on, then lenses flashing as he raised one hand to wave and turned the bus back around. Dropped at the end of the line we would be amazed every time at how different the mountains are up close – flies buzzing in the wet grass, ground swelling up before us. I would laugh at your big boots at the end of your skinny legs. By noon we’d be somewhere loud with the sounds of birds and the breathing forest.
Once we stopped to eat our sandwiches and you caught a bee in the crook of your knee as you sat down. I pulled the sting out, kissed the skin back there and felt your thigh shudder. Your hair was already grey by then and when we laid down on the ground it was like a handful of silver wires in against the grass.
I help you to dress now. Take out the carefully folded clothes from your drawer, pull them on gently over your skin, sometimes catch a static shock from you that makes both our eyes widen and sometimes makes you laugh. I brush your hair, which glistens in the light reflected by the mirror. I show you yourself, dressed, and wait in case you want to give your approval.
Then I take you down to the kitchen window and we look at the mountains all morning. I tell you the story about the bee sting, and all of the other mountain stories that we keep folded inside ourselves. That’s what makes us happy, these days.
Words by: Emily Marchant. She lives in Cambridge, UK. When her cat isn't sleeping on her computer, she writes short stories and is working on her first novel. When her cat is sleeping on her computer, she spends time on her other favorite hobbies - eating and rock climbing. She tries not to do these things at the same time, though, as that would be dangerous.
Art by: Danny Davies. Danny is an artist, musician and crisp aficionado, currently living in Cambridgeshire with his wife, two daughters and a cat called Graeme. He is active on Instagram (@thedannydavies), Facebook (DannyDaviesArt) and at http://www.thedannydavies.co.
Emily is among the artists to be featured in our first edition of Northbound and Notable, scheduled for publication this winter. Proceeds from each refillable leather notebook, vellum craft paper, and accessories sale fund the Northbound and Notable payout pool. Learn how to get involved here.