With his head turned toward the sky he asks, “Do you think it’s real?” Silence follows. He looks to her. When she does not answer, he says, “Heaven. Do you think it’s real? Do you think we really go there? Our spirits, I mean. When we die.”
She says, “I think we turn into stars.”
Balls of paper stained with ink and coffee rings are heaped high in a pile. Steam has quit his lukewarm mug. He scratches another two words onto clean paper (my love—no, that’s not right; dear—no, he’s tried that already).
A heavy sigh. He rips out the sheet and crushes it between his hands.
Two cups of coffee sit upon the table. Steam rises in slow, lazy swirls. The clock on the wall ticks away seconds and every turn of its hands echoes down the hall. She paces up, down; up, down.
The door at the end of the hall is closed.
She sits and drinks one cup alone.
“Do you mean it?” The voice is small. A timid whisper. A strong hand closes around a small one. Fingers lace together. The wind toys with their hair as the two inch closer beneath the moonlight.
“I love you.” A sigh escapes. A head rests upon a shoulder. Muscles tense.
“But do you mean it?”
She runs her thumb over the smooth stone. The sand crunches beneath her boots as she walks along the shore. Water and seafoam lap at her feet. She breathes a sigh, hitch in her throat. She brushes her bangs off her face, winds up her arm and chucks the little stone across the glassy surface.