As we grow old


By Alison Hobbs ©

We’ll buy a cottage by the ocean.
No frills, no fuss we’ll say.
Something cosy with a glimpse of the coast,
And change our lives day by day.
From city to sea. From busy to beach.

I’ll overcome my fear of the water, just, and take up paddle boarding.
To spend hours on days of motionless expanse,
Lying on my belly, trying to make friends with the turtles.

You’ll walk each morning along the sand.
Head up; marching.
Footprints curving away from the sighing surf.
Your toes eventually splaying like the old codgers who have done this a lifetime.

I’ll make my own tea blends;
The smell infused eternally into our kitchen.
Call them hip names like Infini-tea and Almigh-tea,
And sell them in the corner shop.

You’ll renovate a car in the little garage.
Adding oil to parched metal,
Running life into ancient wiring,
Swearing when it’s too cold and dark.

We’ll stop noticing the time; go home when it rains, eat when we’re hungry.
Storm warnings will draw us to the lookout,
Revelling in the clouds and waves,
Salt and wind curling our hair.

We’ll make intense friends with summer tourists;
Share their lives for carefree days, then wave goodbye,
And forget their names.

In the evenings we’ll sit and watch new TV shows.
Our fingers entwined in the fur of a dog that we adopted;
Whose presence is brightness in our life, and shadow to our every moment.
The winters will pass, and its muzzle will grey until,
Grief stricken, we’ll become inconsolable even to each other.

And gradually our world will become smaller.
Each trip shorter.  Each day less full.
Until there is nothing left to say between us.
All colour gone.

Our friends will say it was a freak accident.
And find our belongings neatly stacked, ready to throw out.

A young family will take the cottage;
Call it quirky and renovate sympathetically,
Replacing the dusty corners with children’s laughter.
And the beach will hold no memory of us.

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