Summer Nights

Radcliffe Square at Dusk It's nearly midnight but something about the quality of light puts me in mind of an earlier hour. It doesn't feel fully dark yet. Perhaps it's the warmth. My espadrilles make no noise on the walk home. I can see the flashes of people's televisions, a few late night conversations over bottles of wine. Everyone seems civilised and subdued. Hush, says the moon, and we obey. The pubs are shut.

In the mirror I'm startled to realise that the brightness in my cheeks is actually sunburn; I've caught the sun today, somewhere on my walks from town and back, to a friend's place for dinner where we sat in pools of twilight, candles staining our eyes with bright spots.

I wear a floral print dress. It's '40s, almost-frumpy, which fits my mood. My hair is messy. The glamour is in the not-glamour, or so I tell myself. The slightly sunburnt nose; I could get used to the way this weather makes me feel.

Last night was the summer solstice. A year ago I was with my mother in Bath. This year we celebrated, without meaning to, by listening to Stornoway in a hot, cramped upstairs room. They sang:

Oh and it's a Monday night in June And I should be sleeping But it's so damn warm inside I'm in the garden dreaming

It was a Monday night in June. I should have been sleeping. It was so warm inside. And after, we lay dreaming with the window open.