Working through some old notebooks (see My Writing Diary) and I came across this:
“He stared at the photograph. It was not how he remembered it. It had been less sunny, surely; and there appeared no trace of wind. He thought he had been wearing his green jacket – the old one with the torn inside pocket; it was the only thing he had to protect him against the cold.
“And Alison. She had not been smiling. How could she have been smiling?
“Mike – for once the showman behind the camera – had said ‘say cheese’ in that exaggerated fashion of his. Flamboyant, confident. The drink helped – not that he needed it. It helped all of them.
“He studied the photograph more closely. Julie, coy and sort of curled up on the edge of the photo, was wearing Mike’s coat. He strained to see if there was a stain on the left shoulder. Had it been that afternoon the seagull had shat on the coat? The photograph revealed nothing.
“Later, as they had walked on – further from the cottage along the shore – Julie had asked him about Alison. Was it all over? Finally? He remembered asking her if she fancied a fuck. Julie had, for a moment, taken him seriously. Still coy and curled up, she had drifted away from him and back to Mike. he had picked up a stone and skimmed it into the sea.
“Later, much later, when Julie had grown out of her coy reserve – and after they had become lovers – she had laughed at his question. Or was it her own question which she had found amusing? Somehow he felt the photograph should offer him a clue.”