One sudden fizz is followed by another. You lean out with your sparkler in hand over the black gap of the water and an answering spark shows below. Beside it your half-lit face floats like a ghost. The afterimage of the spark is like a burning fuse in the air, trailing a faint line as you make figure-eights and spirals. His sparkler swoops and zigzags, suddenly, and you try to follow the line but it’s too fast. Yours sputters out, then his, and you dip them in the water with a hiss. Your pupils stretch to the darkness again and you realise he’s looking at you expectantly. What for? “Shall we light some more?” you ask. “Did you see what I wrote in the air with mine?” he replies.You admit that you didn’t. “Ah,” he says, coming closer, and his angled arms shut around you like the hook that grabs toys at an arcade.
Four Walking Routes on the Grand Union Canal - Deirdre Ruane