We left the place where we thought we’d live forever because there was no time left for dreams.
There was no money left too.
Jairo had uploaded his last video. Kurt had done what he promised, set up nowfeed and moved to his island. Thomas was dead and Sylvia might as well have been dead. We were the only ones left.
We got a phone call from Kurt and that was pretty much it. She wasn’t going to stay.
“What do you want me to say?”
She said nothing.
Two years later I got an email from her telling me she was pregnant. She didn’t even ask about the boy.
Two years after that I started riding. To begin with I rode from my house to work but after that I started doing hills and not long after that I left the boy with my mother and got a train to France to do mountains.
When the boy was fifteen he asked to visit his mother and I didn’t say no. When he’d been over there a year he told me he didn’t want to come back.
“I like the beaches.”
I had some money left at last so I went back to the old place. It was a mess. No one had lived there since we left. Kurt’s hut was infested with beetles and Jairo’s was gone. There was a square of black ground where Jairo’s hut had been and right in the middle was his rocking chair and an ashtray. I couldn’t face going over the dunes to Thomas and Sylvia’s.
Our hut, the one where the boy was born, was where I found the old man.
He was sleeping on our old bed, naked.
When I woke him he came at me with a spade. When we were drinking later I realised we’d met before.
“The oysters,” I said.
I remembered seeing him carrying his oysters up to the village. He didn’t have a beard then and he wasn’t so old.
“You don’t look the same yourself.”
He said there were no oysters left and I told him about my bike. When I showed it to him he asked could he ride it to the village.
Two weeks later he still hadn’t come back so I followed the coast to the big town and came home.
It was very empty at home. Everything was quiet.
Three years later I asked Kurt about my share but he never replied to my emails.
When I was fifty I went back to the old place for the last time. The boy was home and tanned so he came with me. People get to a point in their lives where they want to see the place where they were born.
“I thought it’d be more impressive,” he said.
For the rest of the week he swam.
When I was sixty I stopped riding and lost the boy. He wasn’t a boy anymore really. He was swimming in the gulf. They said he got tired. Just got swept away. They found his body in a reef.
I rang her to talk but Kurt answered.
Two years later an American newspaper interviewed me about nowfeed but I denied the truth.
“So it wasn’t anything to do with you?”
I told them it was all Kurt. They didn’t ask once about the others; Jairo, Thomas and Sylvia, her.
Two years later I spent the last of my money on renovating the old place. When it was all done I took photographs and sent them to her. I sent them to Kurt too and even Jairo. I didn’t send any to Sylvia.
A few years later I was asleep in my hut, naked, when I heard a noise. I went outside. It was a hot day and I was too old for heat. I stood there, naked, in the doorway. There were six riders, all of them just kids from the university. None of them seemed bothered by my nakedness, not even the two girls. The one with the yellow helmet got off his bike and came up to the hut.
“Is this Carskill Bay?” he asked.
I told him it was.
“Are these the huts?”
I told him they were.
“Were you one of them?”
I told him I was.
Two years later I fell asleep.