Jón attended the outhouses, made sure everything was as it should be, before retiring to bed. It was Jónsmessa, the longest day of the year. The sun wouldn’t set, but tomorrow would bring more chores, and he needed the rest. The sun shone on his little cottage as he shut the door and lay his head on the pillow.
Outside, the rays of the low sun glistened on the calm waves as they gently stroked the black sand. A lone seal popped its head out of the water and looked up towards the shore. The sand gave way to the green grass of the lowlands, and the glacier reigned supreme in the distance.
Her feet touched the cool sand, and the waves tickled her toes. She stretched her arms towards the sky, letting the sun bathe her body, feeling the warmth on her skin. Taking a deep breath, she smiled and walked towards the green beyond the beach. The grass tickled, but she didn’t mind. It wasn’t often she could walk here. Once a year.
The cottage appeared as she cleared a small hill. Two cows looked at her, offered her a good evening. Asked what she was doing here. Just visiting, she said and smiled.
She quietly opened the door to the cottage and got inside. It was dark and cool. He lay there sleeping, and she slipped into his bed, felt his warmth. He moved slightly as her chilly hand touched his face. As she stroked his chest, he woke up and turned towards her. He turned to face this strange lady. Her deep and dark eyes contrasted with her fair skin and blonde hair.
‘It is Jónsmessa,’ he said. ‘Are you an elf?’
‘No, of course not. The elves are busy at the crossroads.’
‘Who are you,’ he asked.
She put her finger on his lips and kissed him on the forehead. Let her hands feel his body. The farmer felt his heart race. Fear and excitement fought within him. Who was this beautiful woman? What was she doing in his bed? Where had she come from? He tried to restrain himself, but he was lonely. She was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen and if this night would end up with him finding a wife, who was he to resist?
They undressed and made love, while the midnight sun shone through the northern window. It was magical.
The next thing he knew was the singing of the birds as they welcomed a new dawn. If you could call it that, in a land where the sun never sets in mid-summer. Jón looked around, confused. Where was his lover? The most beautiful woman he’d ever seen? Surely he hadn’t been dreaming? He jumped out of bed and looked desperately around. Where had she gone?
Jón quickly ran outside, remembered that it was the time of year where you roll naked in the morning dew to have your dreams come true, and promptly threw himself to the ground. After rolling for a while, he jumped back onto his feet and looked around. Where was she? Looking at the cows, they spoke no more. Where is she, he asked again? The cows looked at him, then swayed their heads towards the beach. He ran as fast as he could, feet wet from the damp grass. Out of breath, he ran onto the black sand and looked around.
The sun, already high in the sky, reflected on the calm sea. The glacier in the distance looked like a pile of gold.
But she wasn’t here.
His love gone.
Sitting on the sand, all he could see was a seal, popping her head out of the water, looking at him. A moment passed, then the head disappeared beneath the waves.
This is the twenty-fourth installment in the Moments series