The morning post came from the ME/CFS/FM Singles Facebook group.
“This is your Fairy Admin Mother. Today you will be granted one day to spend with a person of your choice as they appear in a past photograph, only that particular image. You must not tell anyone who it is, even the person themselves. You can spend the day wherever you choose. You will be free of pain, fatigue, allergies, intolerances. Go ahead, enjoy your day.”
Nathaniel knew who he’d choose. She wasn’t the prettiest but she had an honest face and he felt drawn to her.
Krystina knew who she’d choose. Not the most handsome man but the kindest; he always had a comforting word for people in the group.
They both clicked on the image and found themselves together in the basket of a hot air balloon. The air was crystal clear, the sky blue, their bodies light and healthy, free from pain and the weight of fatigue. Beneath them fields of emerald and gold stretched like an old fashioned quilt, a river a ribbon of shot silk sparkled in the sunlight as it meandered on its way. The gases burned, flaring, keeping the balloon aloft on its journey and they watched the shadow it cast over the land below.
The balloon set them down at the edge of a field, a short walk from a stretch of golden sandy beach. They walked easily onto the beach, their legs strong, their energy limitless. They took off their shoes and walked hand in hand in the breaking waves listening to their gentle wash as they met the shore. They walked and walked, not speaking, no need for words, there was no past, no future, just those moments and the waves.
As they approached the cliffs there was a blanket laid out with a picnic. Dainty sandwiches, chicken legs, sausage rolls, and a light rose wine to wash it down. They talked of the sea, the countryside, summer. Illness was another world, a world away from where they were. After they’d eaten they just lay on the sand, feeling the sun warm on their skin.
Presently dusk began to gather and fold around them like a duvet. They didn’t want to move but they knew they must. Nathaniel got to his feet and held out his hand, pulling Krystina to hers. As the sun set and the first star appeared in the lavender evening sky they kissed. Not a passionate kiss but a tender kiss, the coming together of two souls.
When they opened their eyes they were back in their beds, he in Cumbria, she in Norfolk. The familiar pain was there, the heaviness of fatigue in their limbs but the dream of that day would carry them through their existence forever. But had it been a dream…?