A.J. Walker


The Blue Guitar

Prompt: MidWeekFlash Week 196

The Blue Guitar

“It is what he would have wanted.” Every one was saying it.

There was not much wind, and the waves were gently caressing the shore line about twenty metres out. We sat around a campfire constructed above the usual high tide line. I was fairly sure it was a spot that we’d been to before. I seem to remember Robin playing some Neil Young and Dylan songs here whilst we chatted and drank cheap red wine. If it was the time I think it was we’d all gone in for a swim at low tide and let the fire go out. It was when I first got together with Pamela. We’d stayed together for about three years after that night. Loves young dream we were. I thought it’d be forever, but we drifted apart. I hadn’t seen her for over five years. So that balmy night on the beach was over eight years ago.

Good times. Care free. Sitting on a beach with friends. Drinking beer and wine. Finding love. Singing songs. Why do we stop these things when we get older?

Like me and Pamela the group just drifted apart. Jobs in other places. Changed priorities. Some fallings out. Such a shame. But life goes on: until it doesn’t.

Robin had died unexpectedly a couple of months ago. There’d been a family do. A cremation. Some drinks and standing around talking whilst eating sad curled up sandwiches. It was there we’d all met up at the back of the room and ended up reminiscing about the times on the beach. And so we’d arranged to meet up to give Robin a more Robin type farewell. We’d bought some better drinks with us than we’d ever had back in the day. Most of us were wearing inappropriate clothes for a beach like we’d forgotten what it was. But we were here.

Robin’s ex, Kathryn, had brought his old blue guitar with her. The fire and the guitar just transported us all back to those heady days. A few of us took turns playing the guitar, though it turned out most of us hardly picked one up these days. We played the same songs we used to play: that Robin had played too. We drank. We paddled in the sea. But no one felt like swimming. When the fire went out we retired to our tents at the formal campsite down the road - apart from Kathryn, who was in a motor home. I wondered if she lived it now. She’d split up with Robin ages ago, but if anyone had ended up travelling around in a motor home we’d have put money on it being one of them.

Everyone sloped of in dribs and drabs back to their lives the next morning. Some of us said we should do it again sometime, but we knew we never would. I think Kathryn had left first. I went back to the beach to say my own final farewell by the fire pit. Robin’s blue guitar was stood up nearby in the sand like a totem. I suspect Kathryn had been back to say her own goodbye. The blue guitar seemed a fitting symbol.

Later on I wondered if someone would have found the guitar and given it a new home or whether it would have been washed out to sea by the tides. Either outcome would have suited Robin completely. Goodbye, fella. They were good times.