In his Absence


A second night of observing activity in the bay knowing that the previous evening the deer had crossed the water in three groups.
Firstly, a hind. Then some ten or so minutes later four others appeared. After which one of the men had decided to call it a day and cycle home. Thereupon nine others appeared.

I’ve made some Moroccan carrot salad.
I’ve brought some Chianti.
So we eat, drink, watch, wait.
And hope.

The hind appeared twenty minutes later than the night before. A slow lethargic stride. One of the men went outside to photograph her. At the sound of the shutter being set off she stopped and looked. She didn’t panic but held her stationary pose. Then lugubriously moved on.

There’s some pate and oatcakes too.
Yes, a contrast in tastes.

As the light diminished. They waited. Looking for signs along the water’s edge of rippling. Some indication that more deer were anticipating the crossing.

But the Gang of Four decided to vary their route. Moving along the shoreline towards and beneath the cottage, the gastronomic observation station, avoiding the journey of walk, swim, walk. A detail that almost caught the deer watchers unawares. At such close proximity any photographic capture would have to be done from inside.

Is it Ardennes pate?
No, it’s er, it’s venison pate.
How inappropriately appropriate.

Again one of them got on his bicycle and cycled home. Leaving behind a generous glass of wine in the bottle for the other.

In the dark he cleared away the dishes. He knew his friend would return with another bottle of wine the following evening. With added determination to get a decent image.

He poured the remainder of the wine into the glass. Looked down into the bay. If he called his friend he wouldn’t believe him. But there was the magnificent beast. A stag wading through the now shallow water.

Perhaps he should wait until dawn to see them make their return to the hills. Or, slightly drunk, go to bed and dream it.



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