The End of the Summer

Liv reflects on her childhood as the seasons change

Svetlana Smith
Genius in a Bottle

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There’s a sadness to waking up and smelling autumn sometimes. I unzip the tent, which is damp with dew, and instead of the scent of the sun warming the ground, there’s that hint of chill. Of leaf mold and cold soil which won’t dry out again for 6 months. It’s not long now and I’ll have to give up our weekends away for another year, go back to our rented flat, with the sterile central heating and the magnolia walls. The views of the housing estate, one home the same as the next and leylandii and decking as far as the eye can see.

The grass is wet under my feet as I dash to the loos, brush my teeth and fill the kettle up for the first cuppa of the day. ‘Wake up darling!’ I say to Eddie, rustling back in past the nylon flysheet and sleeping bags, the airbed bounces him awake as I sit on it. ‘The weather’s perfect!’

He turns over with a grumble, his hair all over the place. ‘Gurgh, Liv, it’s freezing! Can’t we stay in bed till it’s a bit warmer?’

‘Nope!’ Our little gas-fired grill is going full tilt, the kettle is boiling and the toast nearly done already. ‘Do you want to miss the best of the day?’

‘Yes.’ he pulls the sleeping bag back over his head in a mock huff so I leave him to it for a bit, struggling to put my clothes…

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Svetlana Smith
Genius in a Bottle

Editor of The Crystal Palace. Writes short stories, mostly about relationships — between friends, siblings, lovers — but with the odd folk horror for fun.