We decide to go up the hill on an autumn evening. It’s your idea—you want to watch the sunset, and I’m always happy to go along with your ideas.
The climb is steep, and we are both sweaty and puffing when we reach the top. The sun is still sitting above the horizon. I feel bad I haven’t brought anything, but you have come prepared. A bottle of cheap wine and two plastic cups are all we need to feel new.
While we talk, I twist a blade of grass around my finger until it breaks off at the stem. I ask you questions about the past, and you ask me about the future. Neither of us talk about anything happening now. It’s more comfortable to look at the sky than each other, to marvel at the myriad of colours fading into darkness. I am filled with delight at everything.
We roll down the hill as fast as we can, making our heads spin violently. When you sit up, there is grass all over your jumper. You laugh when you see I am also covered in grass and offer to get it for me. I sit still, pretending not to notice the shivers down my spine as you pick off the stalks.
I don’t realise the sun is gone until you point out how many stars there are. Our cups are empty by now, the air cool on my face. The only sound is the steady thrum of cicadas calling for their mates.
The next morning I have a headache. You tell me it is from the rolling rather than the wine. Days later, I am still finding grass on my clothes.
Bella Sexton works as a bookseller in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, NZ.