(This is part II of this previous vignette.)
drove down the road where no one goes, past the city lights, past the
gritty edge of the nighttime city, and then over a bridge across the
river. Just past the bridge, the road turned and ended abruptly on a
bare paved waterfront terrace facing the city from across the river.
Just in front of where I stopped the car, a small picnic table for two
was laid out with a plaid checkerboard tablecloth, a single lit candle, and a
bottle of champagne in a bucket of ice. We sat in the car
for a few minutes, holding hands, reluctant to get out and face the
night's end. Nothing moved in the entire world but the flickering flame
on the candle.
"Come love," I said, opening the car door and walked up to the table to open the champagne bottle for us.
offered her a glass, and she sat across from me to watch the reflection
of the candle's flame in the still water of the river. From the
remaining height of the candle we could tell that tonight we would get
less time than usual. Unbidden we stood and walked up right to the edge
of the terrace, music started playing automatically, and we slow danced.
We held each other and forgot the candle and how much time we had left.
We talked in whispers, as if not wanting to awake the ghosts of dances
past. We danced at the edge of the water, our bodies flickering alongside the dying flame.
In the last light before darkness, she stopped moving in my arms and asked, "do you love me when we are gone?"