You're broken when your heart's not open
If I could melt your heart
We'd never be apart
She sipped the aromas of her coffee and stared through the cafè windows to the street.
She watched the shapes moving. The strangers with not-quite-strange faces. The ballets of the city.
Her stare sharpened when she caught a flash of him.
Walking fast, he danced around a couple talking. He nodded a quick apology to a man he bumped into. At the front of the bookstore, he held the door for a woman with a stroller.
Night moved outside, painted in car headlights.
Long coats hurried across crosswalks.
Quiet for a Friday night.
He unzipped his coat and fixed his hair. He hurried past magazine racks. His cold-bitten cheeks turned as he scanned for her. She watched a few more moments before he spotted her tucked off at a side table.
"Sorry I'm late," he said.
"Are you late?"
"Yeah. A little," he said.
He wiggled out of his coat. As he sat, he noticed the cup in her hands. "Is that good?"
"Maybe I'll have one in a minute. After I catch my breath."
She watched him settle in. Watched the thoughts in his movements. Watched his hands work.
"Better?" she said when he stopped.
"Yes. Much." He smiled.
She drank again.
"Are you alright?" he said, darkening a shade.
She let her mind taste it. Are you alright? She clothed it in the lights outside. And the crowds. And the lonely cafe. And the laugh across the store as she swished the half a cup of coffee.
"I'm alright," she said.
"Good," he said, smiling again. A bit uncomfortably. "Because I want to ask you something."
"Oh?" she said.
The red in his cheek dug deeper.
Her eyes narrowed.
She waited. Dissected his nervousness. Pinned each of his movements like a butterfly in a macabre display.
He straightened and clasped his hands to make them stop fiddling. "I want you to go somewhere with me."
Her eyebrows raised. Certainly unexpected.
The fiddling hands returned. "A trip," he said. "A vacation, I guess."
"Yeah, I know, I know. We haven't been seeing each other very long, and all. And you may not even be that into me. But I want to. I really want to take you."
The coffee cup lowered down to the table. She leaned back in her chair. "Where?" she said.
He leaned closer. "Someplace warm. Someplace away from all this cold and crappy winter. Well, not someplace, exactly. A specific place. Kind of special to me. And I want to drive there. Down south. The back roads of Virginia and Georgia and the tobacco fields and the old, forgotten little cemeteries...."
The sharp angles in her mind couldn't grasp why, but her chin quivered. The hard focus of her thoughts washed into a melting sea.
"Me?" she whispered.
The night moved somewhere far away. People walked in the distance.
And the beginnings of tears welled in her eyes.