Wind - or the lack thereof. The greenery by the riverbank stood still and in such unnatural manner that one could not help but wonder if it had become sentient and, paradoxically, chosen to forfeit movement. The river itself did not fare much better. That part had water so shallow that the river was reminiscent of a stream; the lack of wind made it appear even more lifeless. It was not something Luc could see because he did not want to dirty his shoes walking on the mud. Besides, despite knowing it to be childish and pointless, he was busy complaining about the heat.

"Man, I'm boiling!"

To emphasise his suffering, Luc clenched the front of his shirt and tugged it repeatedly as a form of ventilation. He even tossed his head back and added a faint groan. Had the riverbank always been that warm? He tried to recall childhood memories but Davide confirmed his doubts with a chuckle.

"It's cooler when the wind picks up."
As he spoke, Davide chuckle's grew drier to complement an expression halfway through irony and... Mockery, Luc would have called it.
"Coming here was your idea, you don't get to complain now."

"I wasn't complaining! It was an observation!"

Davide had wanted to add something else, take a jab at Luc's sudden inability to cope with regular June weather (without a doubt the result of his living in the country's north for so long), but contained himself because he could see that glimmer in Luc's eyes and knew be was barely listening. Nostalgic, almost nauseatingly so.

As with much of the countryside neighbouring the town of Rina, that river (and that riverbank) too had been a backdrop to mundane childhood excursions that had felt like adventures. Davide's father would have to drive them there because no busses stopped anywhere near. Only one bus crossed Rina, by the time Luc and Davide were old enough to take it by themselves, they had lost interest in deserted riverbanks and instead favoured scenic villages. But Luc was a sentimental buffoon - and Davide used the term endearingly - who, upon returning to his childhood home, wanted to revisit the places that left a mark on his formative years. So Davide drove the two of then there, ironically in the same car his father used to drive.

"Hey, Davide, you know?" Luc's voice softened as he approached the riverbank. "I never noticed the next town over was so close."

From the other bank of the river, artificial lights made dull by distance interrupted the night sky.

"Yeah. We always came here during the day, didn't we? Makes sense we wouldn't see it."

Luc took another step but stopped himself as he felt the soil sink ever so slightly. Davide's reply disappointed him. It disappointed but without surprising. Of course he'd say that, Luc thought. It was not a matter of day or night, he wanted to say, it was something deep and philosophical and to do with human nature and of course something only someone like himself, Luc Sorian, with his intellectual capabilities could understand. He never noticed that town was so close because as a child the world had seemed so much more vast and places were individual isles rather than pieces of a bigger country. Maybe to Davide the world still felt like that.

The glow of a firefly. A grin spread over Luc's features and he triumphantly turned to Davide who too was observing the firefly, a more sophisticated grin over his own face.
"I'll catch it!"
Davide laughed and was ready to call out to Luc, remind him he was in his twenties and that they had no use for a firefly, but Luc went ahead and leapt towards the insect - only to forget about the muddy terrain and slip on his knee. Davide laughed.

"Stop laughing you idiot!"
Luc struggled to contain his own laughter, but tried nonetheless. He remained still for a few instants, knee firmly lodged in the mud, trying to figure out how to stand up with as little damage to his clothes as possible. The speck of fluorescent yellow drifted by him. In the distance, the town's faint glow seemed to complement the croaking of frogs and singing of cicadas. Davide did not share Luc's nostalgia but, though he did not have the words to express it, appreciated his friend's longing for their childhood.

"Hey, is the mud fresh at least? You said you were boiling!"