His mind drifted back to some faraway day. He was on a beach in a foreign land with the woman he loved. She had loved him once too. The clay-white sand seemed to stretch for miles but he didn’t mind because he had nowhere he needed to be, no concept of time on that day. The sand stuck to his naked feet like a second skin, the warmth of it pleasant between his toes. She softly encouraged him towards the water, laughing at his unwillingness. There was something in her eyes when she laughed which left him helpless. He rolled up his trousers deliberately and followed her. He braced himself for the cold but instead the water was tepid, like the bath when you’ve stayed in it too long. She took his hand and they walked like that, silent as the gentle waves nibbled their toes. It was the best sort of silence.
God, there were so many memories from that day. The orange sun which blurred the horizon. How they prayed it would never set. Then there was the breeze, that summer breeze that was nothing like the harsh wind from home. It was warm, gentle, caressing your face like a lover’s promise. As they walked it soothed him, he drank it into his lungs. It played with her hair, sometimes blowing the strands into her eyes. He remembered the gentle way she brushed them away, like the way you stroke a newborn child’s face. Her fingers were so slim, paler than the rest of her skin.
The day seemed to go on forever, the way the best days do.
Now he shook his head as if trying to force the memories out. He returned to cleaning the toilet, forcing himself to concentrate on his work. It was easier this way. Christ, there was nothing like a good bottle of bleach to evoke memories of that summer breeze.