Silver sunlight sparkles on the still surface of the water as the bow of the boat slices smoothly through it. I hear you approach from behind. You rest your hands on my shoulders, gently massaging them, “Coffee? Wine?”
I smile, “Surprise me.”
Long, heavy, leaden branches droop lazily into the canal, overburdened with foliage and blossoms. A verdant paradise of scented sensory stimulation. I close my eyes and inhale the perfume, listen to the soft lapping of the water, feel myself lightly rocked by the motion of the barge.
I hear you sink into the chair next to me and I turn to open my eyes and look at you. You are holding out a glass of sparkling white wine, cloudy condensation dripping down the glass. I take it and raise it in the air.
“To you,” you say.
“To us,” I reply and we clink a toast.
Its effervescence tickles my nostrils as I take a sip; sharp bubbles bursting on my tongue and catching in my throat making me cough slightly. Giggling I swallow and watch you as you look out at the scene before us; ducks and swans swimming amicably alongside us, green tendrils trailing beneath the surface of the water.
I feel content, relaxed and happy. Everything is just how it should be. Everything feels right.
A loud voice shatters my peace, “Now then! Time to take your vitals again, up you sit,” the strong, forcefully cheerful Dublin accent of the nurse breaking through my dream. Unwelcome, familiar pain floods my body as I struggle to sit up, my mouth parched, lips cracked.
Reality crashes in.
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