The treasure hunt
I stare at the photograph.
I don’t remember this childhood holiday on the beach, the tide washing away that sandcastle we spent hours building, the bubbling sea submerging the shell-lined moat. I don’t remember the ice cream cones or fish and chips.
I remember, though, the days we’d go out, as if foraging for precious truffles, our eyes scouring nearby pavement gutters for hidden treasure. It wasn’t truffles we hunted, but cigarettes. The longer the discarded end, the more precious our find. With little fingers we’d stuff our pockets full, presenting the spoils back to you, triumphant. You’d sit and examine our treasure: one by one you’d snip the white, papery cylindrical stubs, tipping the remaining golden leaves carefully into a saucer. If our expedition had been successful, you’d have enough leaves to roll one cigarette of your own.
But we don’t seem to have a photograph of that.