I think this was one of the first short stories I ever wrote. It seems a little immature to me now, but I suspect all my writing will seem like that once I have a few years distance from it. I was almost 10 years younger when I wrote it…
‘A Change in the Summer Sun’ was originally published Issue #1 (Autumn 2010) of the online-only Dark Fountain Journal. PDF versions of all 3 issues to date are available at darkfountainjournal.wordpress.com.
A Change in the Summer Sun
by Keith Collier
It is a brilliant summer day. You’ve been working outdoors in the heat since early morning, raking gravel and moving bricks, and you can still feel the strain in your shoulders and the roughness in your hands. There is music coming from passing cars with their windows rolled down, and girls in shorts on the sidewalk with big sunglasses and tanned skin and streaky blonde hair. The sights and sounds of summer. The smells of freshly cut grass and coconut sunscreen.
You’re walking home, knowing that you did a good day’s work, that you’ve earned the weekend off and the beer you’re going to drink around the barbeque tonight with your friends, with the friends that you’ll have forever when you’re nineteen. Your whole world is in blues and greens, the colour of a girl’s eyes in sunlight, a girl you hope you will see tonight.
You’re almost in reach of that first beer when it happens. You never see it coming. She is wearing no short skirt or trendy sunglasses as she passes you on the sidewalk, but blue jeans and a black shirt on a day far too hot. Long dark hair, sunlight washing over her like water, her eyes a dark, dark brown. The most beautiful girl you’ve seen all day, the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen, has just passed you on the sidewalk, just walked right through your beautiful summer day, and she is crying.
You have some thought of heroic action, of rescue, but you see that thought for what it is, and there is nothing to be done but to see the summer colours for what they are. The blues and greens, the white clouds and the bright yellow sunlight are tinted, tainted by the dark brown of her eyes. The entire colour of the summer has changed before you can stop it. You can try to remember, try to imagine what the world looked like before she walked through your beautiful summer day.
But it will never be quite the same again.
© Copyright Keith Collier 2010-2013.
Originally published in Dark Fountain Journal Issue #1, Autumn 2010.