Nicholas was already standing by the large iron pillars by the water when Taylor reached the peak of the hill at the beginning of the dock. Nicholas was carrying a bag over his shoulders and his hair laid flat on top of his head- he looked tired, his shoulders were dropped and he was leaning on one leg to rest the other. Taylor jogged down the hill. The sound of his boots sweeping through the wet grass like wind in his ears. Nicholas turned around when Taylor reached the concrete part of the dock and his shoes stomped against it’s surface. They looked at each other for a few seconds before Nicholas smiled and held out a hand to grasp his. Taylor moved forward and they caught each other’s hands briefly.Nicholas reached around Taylors back with his free arm. Taylor didn’t return the favor and Nicholas only patted him slightly on the back before they pulled apart. Silence followed. Taylor didn’t know what to say, if he was in the right- or if he had a responsibility- to say something. Nicholas as the trusted older brother he was broke the silence before it got too overbearing.
“The others should be here any minute” he smiled at Taylor and turned to see if there was a dry spot on the dock where he could sit down. There probably wasn’t. He took off his bag and sat down on it.
Taylor nodded slowly and looked out over the water.
The dock´s edge was just a few decimeters above the surface of the water and from where he was standing it kind of looked like it was all laid out in one movement. The ground simply growing out into the water and continuing on to the others side. The others side, which was only ten or eleven meters away from them, it could have been even closer. Sometimes it felt like they could as well be standing over there, that it was so close they could just walk over whenever they wanted. But Taylor had never been on that side. The dock itself, the water surrounding it and the port on the other side was a floodgate. The dark water in-between was a canal, it never moved and never wavered. Taylor looked out over the water and on the factories and docking stations on the other side. They were all covered in a dim, grey light and rising between the constructions were deep shadows. Nicholas followed Taylor´s gaze. He was just about to say something when they both heard a car approaching. Taylor turned around and Nicholas stood up. A familiar black pickup truck came around the dock´s parking space and drove steadily towards them. They could see Jasper and Sam wave through closed windows from the back seat and as it took a turn to stop they got a glimpse of Saul leaning to look out from in-between the two. The car stopped and they jumped out followed by a sleepy Amen from the front seat. Taylor smiled as Jasper and Sam called his name and came to wrap their arms around his shoulders. Saul greeted Nicholas like they were old sophisticated men and Jasper looked back at them and laughed. Sam smiled widely and held on to Taylors back as Saul came to say hello.
“You should have called yourself” they said as they joked about Taylor not wanting to be with them anymore and them “getting tired of Taylor´s shenanigans”. Nicholas walked up to the driver’s seat and opened the door. Senai stepped out, checking twice if he had the car keys and closed the door after him. Taylor saw how they looked at each other and noted that they opened their mouths to talk, but he could not hear them and decided, as Sam and Jasper pulled him to the dock’s edge, that it was none of his business. Saul went back but only to pull Amen away from the car, grabbing his sleeve and leading him towards the younger ones. Amen yawned and smiled at them. Sam let go of Taylor to grab Amen´s arm and they chatted loudly about nothing in particular as they leaned over the edge too look down in the dark water. Jasper squatted down and reached out to touch the water. Amen looked over to the other side and noted that the shadows looked like people. Saul laughed sharply and sat down on the iron pillar´s edge. Sam held Taylor and Amen around their shoulders and smiled. Suddenly, Senai appeared behind Jasper and pulled him back just before he was about to reach the water. Jasper whined and the others laughed. Nicholas joined them and
Taylor caught himself smiling happily.