Makarelle Spring 2022: 'Landmarks'

Short Story Fiction “ To the Left of the Frame ” by Dini Armstrong

shell in the dirt. How do seashells find their way up here? It’s not like they can fly. The thought makes him smile and shiver at once. Hard to believe his baby boy is two already — still wob- bly on his chubby little legs but refusing to be strapped down in his buggy. David is not fazed by the fact that the lighthouse is nothing like the painting. Clearly, Mackintosh used a tiny bit of artistic licence, that’s only to be expected. The walls are grey and flaky, more concrete than lime paint, rust coloured stains running down the steep sea-facing wall — graffitied over with two giant white Ls. David assumes this might refer to Llibertat Països Catalans , a common slo- gan in this area. The second L ends in an abrupt downward line. He chooses to believe this rebel ran out of paint. In the dark, the lighthouse safe- ly guides ships from the emerald sea into a small deep-water port, filled with commercial, fishing and leisure vessels. His stomach begins to rum- ble at the thought of another visit to Le Poisson Rouge, one of the many seafood restaurants sell- ing the daily catch fresh from the boats. His mind wanders to grilled catfish, baguette, a bot- tle of red, pressed from the Mourvèdre grapes of the surrounding hills.

“Daddy, Daddy, look! A ship!” He is star- tled for a moment. That’s not just some ship. A majestic three-masted barque glides into the port, a vision straight out of a pirate movie. For a moment, he fears he might have lost touch with reality. He grabs his son and lifts him high onto his shoulders. Further down the path, he can see Lily, seeking refuge in a rare patch of shade. Despite the heat, she is wearing a pair of knee-high Doc Martens and the weight slows her down. She looks up at her husband and son and smiles, waving with one hand, covering her eyes against the sun with the other. A sudden breeze makes her thin cotton skirt billow out like a welcoming flag. Lily shouts something but the sound of crashing waves, formed in the wake of the b a r q u e , d r own s o u t h e r v o i c e . “That’s okay,” he mouths, knowing she can’t hear him, “you can always tell us later.” And then, with a smile, “See you soon, sugar dumpling.”

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Makarelle

Page 50

Landmarks Spring 2022

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