Picturesque

There was a bay below them and Caitlin wanted to photograph it. Euin did not want her to.
‘Come on, babe, do that later. Let’s walk.’ Euin said.
‘O.K. Just one?’
‘Very quickly, come on. I want to get down there.’
Caitlin raised her camera to her right eye, and shutting her left, took the picture. While she did this, he looked down, seeing the bay speckled with tourists and cameras.
‘Sorry, it didn’t come out great,’ she said.
Euin blinked quickly and tensed his jaw a little. He breathed in through his nose, then out, slowly but not patient.
‘O.K.’ said Caitlin, after taking another photograph.
‘Good.’
‘Do you want to see?’
‘No. Not now, maybe later.’ Euin said, impatient.
From Caitlin, silence.
‘I’m sorry babe, I just feel like you are obsessed not with having a good time but with recording us having a good time which, conversely, takes away from the good time we’re having!’
‘I know. I just wanted to take a picture because it looks so nice and it’s the first time I’ve been here.’
‘I know, darling, but can’t you take them at the end, after we’ve had a walk?’
‘But it might not be so bright then, Euin.’
‘It’ll be fine. Look, let’s walk and we can figure it out later,’ he said, taking her right hand in his left and walking quickly.
From Caitlin, more silence.

They reached the bottom of the bay. There there was a cluster of rocks which formed a natural pier, extending upwards four metres and outwards into the sea, perhaps ten. On it were gulls.
‘Look at those gulls, they’re huge!’
‘God they’d take your eye out, easy.’
‘I think they look majestic, somehow.’
‘More like bouncers, looking at their eyes they’re completely dead.’
‘Shall we go up on the rocks?’
‘All right.’
‘Do you want to go up first?’
‘Fine.’
Euin lifted his left arm and right foot onto the rocks and began his ascent. He stayed mainly on his feet, using his arms as light support. Towards the top he went briefly onto all fours. He reached the top and sat, then she.
‘Look at that: what a view!’ she said, out of breath and excited.
‘Yeah.’
‘What’s that?’
‘What?’
‘That. That island?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘I thought you’d been here a million times?’ she said, then jabbed him lightly in ribs with bony elbow.
‘I still don’t know and can you not jab me please.’
Caitlin went into her left hand coat pocket and removed from its’ case, her camera. She lifted it to her right eye and shut left then drank in the view through the lens. Turquoise sea crashed onto black volcanic rocks. Sea spray flecked Euin’s angry face. Euin looked Caitlin, reached his lower lip over his lower teeth and rested his upper front teeth there. He shook his head and said.

‘Are you serious? I thought you must be joking when you took that out.’
‘What? It’s a beautiful view.’
‘Why isn’t spending time with me here enough? It’s like you are looking back on this now as you’re living it.’
‘I didn’t ask you to be in the picture did I?’
‘No, I didn’t say you did.’
‘Come on, Euin.’ She said and reached her right hand to meet his left. In her left the camera remained.
‘No, you come on. You never listen to anything I say.’
‘Fine. O.K. I’m sorry I took a picture.’ She said, flat.
‘Right- If you’re going to be like that then I’m off. See you later.’

Euin climbed down the rocks carefully. He walked further around the bay on a path that wound upwards towards cliffs. He stopped when he reached some rocks that they call ‘the organ’. He looked at the long, thin, volcanic rocks but did not take them in, feeling only irritation, this caused by French tourists blocking his path and, worse still, taking photographs. Then, as the tourists left and he stood alone, his perspective changed.

He became aware of his long, thin, hexagonal bodies, each cold and nude and old as time. He could see the bay below and the sea beyond that. He looked hard.

The bay’s curve was hesitant and weathered, an old, arthritic claw. Rocks that comprised it were ink black, hexagonal columns, like him. One million perfect rocks, fifteen million years old. Turquoise sea crashed into them, starting as a line of dolphins slowly rising from water then crashing, icing-sugar white foam, thick as meringue peaks. Beyond the bay was the pewter sea, veined with failed waves, smothered by tides, petering into nothing like whispers of a palace coup. Above, sky offered opalescence and, in doughy patches of cloud, more water. Sun cracked through, hitting foam hemming and dying and hitting sea and glinting glinting glinting.

And Euin thought, as he felt gulls nesting above him and lichen living on him, that this was a nice place to take photographs of, after all.