One November afternoon when the girl is older and living on the coast she will be sitting on a bench on a pier overlooking a gray harbour. Below, the waves will slosh frothing against the sea wall, that rustle of surf like a book being torn slowly to strips.
The girl as a woman will sit on the bench by the harbour and close her eyes and think back to a time when she lived in a city: childhood. A different bench in a park, a bench made from wood the colour of dust and surrounded by trees.
The park’s topography: the trees, pavement and grass, children circling on bicycles, a cluster of parents, a stone fountain clotted with leaves. And the girl on the bench, swinging her pale legs in the slow autumn sunlight.
Beyond the park would exist the whispering city, the hiss of traffic and the wind shushing its way between buildings. The girl would close her eyes and, listening, when the gulls at last flapped shrieking overhead, swear she was hearing the sea.