Carla’s room was right at the top of the house. It was small, under the sloping roof with angled odd-shaped windows set into the roof. She took me by the hand and led me there.
It was an odd-shaped room, seemingly with more corners than walls. It was obviously some kind of afterthought, shaped out of the spare places of the house and turned into a room.
However, it was a bright sunny room with bare white walls that seemed cool and inviting in the heat of that summer. The windows were open and I could hear the cries of the gulls as they circled the cliff top and this big old rambling house which stood up their like some royal personage on the throne of its cliff.
There was just a small three-drawer sideboard, also white, and her single iron-framed bed in the room. On the bare floorboards as a small striped brown and cream rug.
There were no pictures, posters, no record player, no discarded clothes on the floor, just a single plain-covered hardback book on the floor by the bed, and nothing else.
Nothing else except the two of us. When I turned towards her, Carla was already reaching out for me, smiling that smile of hers, which I already knew, and I knew what it meant.
She’d smiled that smile many times before, already for me that summer, down in the dunes, over on the far cliff-top over the other side of the bay, in the woods, the old abandoned barn and several other places.
Yes, I knew what that smile of hers meant, and – so – I smiled too as I stepped forward into her arms.