Across the road my neighbours are sitting around a campfire in their yard.
I watch them through the fence, sitting, talking, drinking tea, or beer, or wine, in the winter dark.
I walk by with my dogs, their last walk of the day.
I am envious as I walk past, the flames bright against shadowed faces, my dogs pulling towards the beck at the bottom of the road.
I haven’t seen my friends for a very long time. I wish that I was sitting by a fire with them, a fire in a field, or on a beach or next to a dark river. I would be silent and my friends would chat quietly, pointing out stars and remembering old friends long gone. And when folk started to drift back to their vans, to their beds, I would say goodnight and maybe get a hug in return.
My neighbours are sitting quietly in the dark, the flames leaping high, a shower of sparks as somebody nudges a log with a boot.
They are good people but keep to themselves, apart from the village which sees them as different. I talk to them and surely they would welcome me if I asked to sit there with them, the warmth of new friendships warming my soul as the fire would warm my face. Shy however, I take my dogs home where I settle first my birds and then my dogs, before I climb the stairs and go to my bed.