She slides from the bed and dresses quickly; the house sleeps on silently as she creeps out into the darkness.
The grass is frozen and crunches underfoot as she runs towards the bench, eager to get settled before it begins.
Clapping her hands together for warmth, she makes clouds in the air with her breath, she waits.
The night is transforming slowly into day, the shadows form into shapes as the light touches them.
Pale at first, the gradually stronger, the first rays of dawn touch her face.
She slips back home before she can be missed.
When she steps onto the floor, every head in the room turns to see, all eyes on her.
“Is it Saturday?” she asks the nurse.
She is a born dancer, they say.
She could be a professional. The foxtrot is her favourite dance.
As the music starts, she glides across the floor in a dress her mother made her for occasions just like this.
Is it Saturday?” she asks.
On Saturdays she comes here to dance.
When it had been just the two of them for the first time, the panic set in, was the baby warm enough?
Was he hungry? Tired? How did the pram fit together?
He preferred to take the baby out when it was quieter and to stay away from the areas where crowds gathered. Instead choosing to walk by the waterside, so they could feed the ducks.
This daily outing became part of their routine.
The pram soon became redundant, just like that the baby became a toddler who quickly learnt to walk and run.
And now, racing ahead of him, skateboard under his arm, the son he raised alone, is fearless.
Over drinks in a crowed bar they discover that they almost crossed paths before.
They had both worked there at the same time.
It is a funny old world, isn’t it?
How could they have been so close to meeting but just missed each other?
Together they recall the season they had spent there.
The memories of clattering cars on the track, the screams of thrill seekers, throngs of visitors on hot summer afternoons, somehow sweeter now they both know the other had been there the whole time.
Adventure awaits him, but he has time for one last stroll. He spends a long time getting ready.
When he steps out, he is immaculate from head to toe.
A few minutes from his house, the edge of town stretches out to touch the sea.
Seagulls circle overhead as he makes his way down the parade. The ladies smile and laugh as he walks past, he is always the charmer.
With a spring in his step, he continues on, his back to the Blackpool skyline, the whole world in front of him.
Suddenly, it started to rain. To save time, they cut across the field.
This is where we met, she remarked.
He smiled down at her, I know, I remember.
He took a deep breath; he had something he wanted to tell her.
He glanced across the field and then turned back to look at her, but he couldn’t see her.
He heard her laugh and followed the sound to where she was lying on the grass, her drawings scattered around her.
He reached down to help her up and together they walked the rest of the way home, hand in hand.
Peering down at her feet she sees the waves crashing through the gaps in the wooden boards.
The voices of her sisters blow past her on the light breeze.
They’re somewhere behind her and out of sight. Her mother’s hand holds tightly to her own, fingers sticky and pink from the remains of a sugary treat.
Together they stroll down the walkway, past the deck chairs and stalls, to the very, very end.
It stretches out in front of them, the deep blue waters and the feeling of freedom, on this, the first day of summer.
She asked the driver to stop just before the hospital.
She needs a few moments to herself.
She steps into the woods; the trees have started to turn golden and there is a nip in the air.
She has walked these pathways all her life, first as a child and now as a young woman looking towards an uncertain future.
But here, as she moves between the branches and foliage her fears of what might lay ahead start to fall away, so that when she steps back onto the street, they are scattered like autumn leaves at her feet.
He comes here to think and leave the day behind.
Closing his eyes, he breathes in the salty air, the sand shifts.
For a moment he conjures them, their little hands and high pitch squeals of delight. When he opens his eyes they’re gone.
On a good day, people say that standing here on the dunes, looking out to sea, you could be anywhere in the world.
But he only wants to be here.
Here is where he remembers them, until they are with him again.
Their laughter can be heard over the whirling of the machines. They are children again, feeding coins into the slot, hoping for a prize.
It seems like five minutes ago they were all here. In truth it’s more like weeks.
As the night wears on, the buzz and the chatter fall away.
They cheer each other on, enjoying the wins and commiserating the losses, thankful to be all here together again.