Listen to the surf. I could lie here, lie here with you forever.

Darling, you can’t expect everything to be perfect from the start.

STARTING AGAIN BY LINDSAY SMITH 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 89

Aster lies there listening. The waves crash on the beach in a dull roar, like distant thunder. Darling? She shivers, pulls up the sheet, her knuckles pressed against her chin. Darling? A curtain flaps. The breeze whistles through the weatherboard cladding.

In the darkness Harry feels his way across the room. He touches her hand stretched out from the sheet, whispers I’m here. He falls into the bed and takes some of the sheet for himself. He jostles Aster, seeking the softness of her naked body. And after a moment he lies still, breathing lightly.

I saw a ghost.

A ghost?

Seemed like one. He feigns a laugh.

Oh, the neon, that white neon, Aster says, her voice muffled in the pillow. If it bothers you so much we can get it changed. Darling, you can’t expect everything to be perfect from the start.

Harry tugs at the sheet again. Why do they put a neon over the mirror a…

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