Under the cover of fading twilight Piers Lomond narrowed his eyes against the drizzle coming up river from the west. Pinpricks of orange twinkled into existence through the murk on both sides of the great estuary. He knew from previous forays onto the bridge at night that those pinpricks would soon blossom into clusters of electric fireflies winking through the darkness, struggling to reach out to him across the waters.
He didn’t want to be reached out to. Not by the works of man. Somewhere out beyond the cloud mass rushing in from the Atlantic, the sun was declining beneath the grey storm tossed waves, light being swallowed by an omnipotent monster as the earth spun eastward. A wind was beginning to pick up, not yet strong enough to fleck the mud dark tide below with white caps, but already chopping the waters into black troughed waves. If the forecast was correct it would be a gale by morning, and then a storm. Lomond shook his head to flick the accumulated water from his face and hair. None of which would bother him.
He regretted the cloud and rain. He had imagined that if, he snorted as he corrected himself, no, when, this time came, Tir na n’Og would welcome him with blazing yellow shafts shining through the warm red sky of forever. But even the end was going to be grey and disappointing. Westerness, the land of eternal youth was weeping and Lomond felt as if he had somehow missed the boat. Even in his current frame of mind he allowed himself a wry smile at the inadvertent pun. He wouldn’t need a boat to get there. Below him the second highest tidal reach in the world was churning, turning to rush millions of gallons of water into the Irish Sea. The highest was a couple of thousand miles almost directly west of where he stood, across the waters of the Atlantic in the Bay of Fundy. He’d checked. Just out of interest. When he had still had any interest to spare. So, on to bigger, better things then.
He turned and leaned back on the safety rail, staring upstream now. The angles were all wrong. Mostly he could see the spread of the carriageways that crossed the span of the bridge. The rest was darkness of the eternal night from the East. At least the rain wasn’t in his face any more, and neither the darkness nor the weather prevented him seeing what he was looking for. She would be settling down for the evening. Forty miles upstream the world would seem a different place. A warmer, brighter, less elemental place, confused and cluttered by the ephemera of distractions that humanity constructed between itself and reality. Piers saw through it all to the nub, the heart, the essential futility of all the pastimes and geegaws, the bread and circuses. The pointlessness of obfuscation.
He’d done all that. He’d collected a lot of things. And all the while niggling, itching, growing inside, sapping the ability to pretend everything was fine, was the knowledge. The knowledge of having reached out and being cursed for daring and yet more, for attaining what he desired, that which was not his.
He turned again to face into the west and heaved a sigh of resignation.
[Just an exercise that went a bit differently than I had imagined. I don’t normally like exercises that demand you write something to a set goal/formula/inspiration – if it isn’t my inspiration I think it is lacking something, some veracity, some depth – oops! Careful – sounding a bit twee there, but you know what I mean. Don’t you? Anyway this time I promised I’d have a go because I was asked and it seemed churlish not to and you know what I enjoyed it. It may not seem like it from the tenor of the above piece. But I did.]