‘Nice of you to join me, slowcoach. Water?’
She held up a plastic bottle, one of those ergo-
nomic ones with the special grip. A good sign.
She must be back in training. Aloud he said,
‘I’m fine, thanks,’ though actually he wouldn’t
have minded a drink. But he remembered
from of old that Sam easily dehydrated, and
earlier she’d complained of cramp.
He gave up trying to get comfortable on
the instrument of torture and slid down into
the groove by her feet, grating his lower back
in the process. Inwardly he chided himself for
his clumsiness, disregarding the pain. More
importantly, had he ripped his Graham Foster
design Tabs on their inaugural outing?
‘ You look well,’ Sam complimented, and he
wondered if she could be serious.
He leaned against the rock she was perched
on, half-turned towards her, half out to sea.
He sucked in the turquoise warmth of home,
absorbing with it a sense of wholesomeness
‘Bet you missed this at Cornell,’ Sam
‘Bet you missed it in London as well,’ he
They often chased each other’s sentences,
fed one another’s thoughts. But she looked
down and a shadow fell over her smile. That
stupid Cockney, Dean. Finn mentally kicked
himself. Sam fiddled with the fleshy leaves of a
purslane by her sandals.
‘Remember we used to call those “baby
palm trees”?’ he reminded her. The distraction
‘ We put some in that diorama of Bermuda
we made for your Aunt Jane,’ she giggled.
‘It’s good to have you home.’
‘Definitely,’ he agreed, nodding, ‘It’s good
to be home’.
‘Look how much salt is on these leaves,’
she commented after a moment, wiping her
fingers on her denim shorts.
‘It builds up over years, I guess,’ he replied,
and thought of emotional baggage.
They fell into a companionable silence,
watching the sea. Finn decided heaven must
‘ The ancient Greeks couldn’t see blue,’ Sam
said, and the intersection of their thought
processes unnerved him.
Was the random comment an effort to fend
off sad reflections, he wondered. How could
one colour represent such different things?
‘ Where’d do you hear that?’ he hedged.
‘I read it in the Culture section on the BBC.
Some guy in the nineteenth century studied the
works of Homer. Blue’s not mentioned once.’
Finn flinched. BBC, that figured.
‘ Why would anyone waste days of their
life close-reading epic tomes of boredom?’ he
asked, ‘I can’t imagine anything drier’. Sam
raised an eyebrow, possibly thinking of the
scientific phenomena he had tried to interest
her in over the years. Finn blushed.
‘It took months actually,’ she corrected, ‘He
wouldn’t have had some algorithm to do it
back then, you know.’
‘ You couldn’t use an algorithm to extract
data like that. Good job you went for perform-
ing arts,’ he teased. She rolled her eyes.
‘ Whatever. You’re missing the point. They
didn’t see the colour. Isn’t that crazy?’
‘It does seem kind of bizarre,’ Finn con-
‘Especially when you think of all those
islands. It’d be just like this.’ She swept out
her arm in an arc. The sides of Finn’s mouth
twitched, itching to mock the dramatic
gesture. As if anyone could miss the wall
of sea and sky; not even a boat relieved the
‘Could they not physically see it or did they
just not recognise it?’ he queried instead.
‘ You mean, did the colour not exist?’ she
‘No, of course it existed. Colour is just our
visual perception of different wavelengths.
That wouldn’t change over such a short
‘I said ancient Greece,’ Sam emphasised, and
this time he couldn’t restrain a smirk.
‘ The passing of a mere moment for the uni-
verse,’ he pronounced in mock-dignified tones.
‘ Yes sir, Mr. Scientist,’ she laughed. ‘Still,
isn’t it weird that they couldn’t see something
that’s all around them, right under their
noses?’ Finn missed a beat before agreeing.
‘ Yeah, weird.’ His eyes darted towards her
but there was no irony in her expression, so he
dismantled his wry look. He’d invited her out
to take her mind off Dean, not make matters
worse by reminding her how obvious the signs
had been that he was a dead-end. Last summer,
Finn would probably have laughed at her gaff,
without deliberating over her reaction. Would
that be healthier? To just be open? But he
knew he’d delayed too long; laughter would
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They fell into a companionable silence, watching the sea. Finn
decided heaven must be blue.
‘The ancient Greeks couldn’t see blue,’ Sam said, and the
intersection of their thought processes unnerved him.
Was the random comment an effort to fend off sad reflections, he
wondered. How could one colour represent such different things?