'we could drive this car over the cliff.' his voice was flat with a fatigue that lay like cloud cover over a landscape that was once so beautiful. she didnt need to look at him to know he was looking straight ahead, through the windscreen, over the cliff, through the crisp sunday afternoon air, through the horizon, and into the majestic past. she knew, because she was seeing the same. the horizon lay grey and sullen, and the sky was scattered with clouds bruised & bloodied, dead & dying soldiers from some unobserved & pointless battle. they slumped clumsily in the sky, mangled, their positions all wrong. just bundles of water vapour. they would disintegrate soon. decompose. she wanted to reach through the cars roof & clutch some of that brevity in her hand, pull it towards her & press it against her breast. but she lacked the compulsion. they were too far away. she felt so weary.

the sea didnt look liquid. the waves seemed so small, more like creases in a bed sheet. shawl. shroud. it looked like all she had to do was lift up a corner and there, shed be able to see everything. all she had to do was reach down & lift up a corner, and hed crawl out, burbling. just like that time. eye off him for the briefest of moments, and there, gone, vacant space. vacuum. but he was only under the table, behind a veil of rippled tablecloth. it seemed like a game afterwards.

the sky changed. a disc of burning crimson was dropped from the feeble fingers of the cloud cover and floated about the steel horizon, spilling liquid fire on its unstirring skin. two pairs of eyes were drawn to it; two pairs of eyes stung. the flaccid corpses of cloud were inflamed, & the monotonous grey was flushed with a glorious rose. the sky blushed in exultation.

her breath caught in her throat. she reached for the handbrake & curled her fingers round it. it felt so big in her grasp, like a thumb in the hand of an infant. her hand trembled. she pressed the button but lacked the strength to push the lever down. she felt the muscles in her arm shake with the feeble strain, & her breath snagged again. she felt his hand close over hers, felt its warmth, not as a comfort but as a sensation. her nerve endings were on fire. she could feel every line in his palm as it embossed itself into the back of her hand. his hand she knew so well. she looked up at him and saw tiny images of herself reflected in the oceans of his eyes.

the handbrake fell, the edge rolled closer. the car slid through the air & she could feel his hand & every atom of his body & every word hed ever said & she sighed & the dying sun set fire to the blanket of the sea as it rose up to catch them & sway them like a crib.