Sunlight streamed in from between the tops of the houses, kissing the cool pavement and calling it into warmth with caressing beams. Grass, chill with dew and ripe with pale greens and yellows, waited in expectant shadow, watching the sun’s unyielding march towards its peak while taller stalks bobbed with the weight of their seeds.
Up the street, small children wrapped in skirts, slacks and polos threw dress-shoed feet like dice on the fading sidewalk, clucking mothers and black canvas buggies trailing behind with skittering wheels and wide-spread wings. Bony-fingered women and rounded men watched the world coming to life from the cool hollows of their front-door awnings, tapping off their ashes into dirty white bowls while forest fauna stood guard from the garden posts. Small white dogs and indifferent cats twined in behind lace curtains, plugging in in their own small way to the world beyond their glass. Behind brick walls, seas of shale waited, carefully tended and ready for the ripples of children, street cats, at night the occasional fox.
Beyond their borders, rivulets of green sprang unprovoked from the sidewalks, shoring up against litter and beer stains, bearing the weight of careless sneakers and still choosing to fight.
High above, casting white seeds, seagulls wheeled, riding salt air currents on strange orbits above their homes. Crying the hour, food, alarms, they squealed like clamoring children, huddling together at last when exhausted, at peace, on splattered roofs, the horizon too far to reach. Fenced in on all sides by ocean and chimneys, low mountains of soot-darkened fog, they gathered in small white clusters, gazing up with shiny black eyes at the great blue orb of the cloudless sky.
Cawing out deep breaths of sea air, then whispering in their own small tongues, they all agreed together that Brighton was not such a bad place to land, that here they could have rest.