A Field with Clovers

There was a small field next to a dirt road that ran down a hill to a house. The field had clovers and the clovers had little black marks on the folds of the leaves that looked like hearts. It was on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

A man was in the field with a loaf of bread and some cheese, and a woman drove by in a pickup. He was sitting. She stopped.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hello,” she said. “What’re you doing here?”

“I was going to eat something,” he said. “The view is pretty.”

“This is my property.” She said. She had planned to say more, but she didn’t.

“Oh,” he said. “It’s beautiful,” he said. “The grass is soft, and there’s a breeze blowing in off the ocean.” He looked at her until he couldn’t anymore. Then he looked back out over the water and he wanted her to leave but he also wanted her to stay.

She looked at him. Then she looked out over the water. The sky was grey and the water was a deep blue. There was a diffuse light that lit the tan rocks jutting out in the water.

But probably there would be a storm, she thought. The night would be cold and a fire would be good. She thought how the crackle is comforting against the sounds of thunder and crashing waves.

So she drove on, down to her house. It sat back in the trees that grew right up to the edge of the cliff so that they stood out against the sky. They looked painted on, like the set of a play. She collected her pile of wood and kindling while it was still dry. Then the storm came and raged and the house felt small against it. She stayed close to the fire. She felt the heat on her cheeks and her chest, warming her breathing. It was like being touched. She went to bed uneasy, and woke up feeling restless. At work the next day, when someone said she looked tired, she blamed the storm, but she was thinking of the field, and of looking out over the water.

 

He got up and left when the clouds were beginning to darken. He took a clover and pressed it between the pages of a book. But the heart spot rubbed off onto the paper, andĀ obscuredĀ some words.

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