The fireflies were flash-bulbing the night like lazy papparazi. Well, anyway, that’s how it looked to me.
And they walked, slowly, because slow was as fast as they could go, because they had nowhere to go and forever to get there. The warm June air was dusted with cinnamon, heavy with powdered sugar, but even for summer the night was sticky sweet. The elderly couple was almost invisible, indivisible, making their way on down the sidewalk, crossing through the thick of the overgrown grass, after the ice-cream stand, just a mile from the carnival, finding their way to the empty bench in the center of the park, in the heart of the tourist season.
And they sat down.
A bottle rocket squealed, shrugged off into the infinity of night sky, and as man and woman both stared straight ahead, wordlessly, purposely, he took her bony hand in his own.
And he held it.
On nights like this he could still feel every reason, all the pull that had brought him to her years before. He was to the day proud that he had won her, proud of the worry lines on her face, lines that he had helped to groove. It was good to be a sentence in her story.
There was a surge of screaming from the boardwalk, from the Ferris Wheel, as another car reached the zenith and another pair of riders had to be heard.
On the bench she squeezed his hand back, so slight you wouldn’t see it if you were looking. She sighed, and he heard it. She still felt safe beside him, she still felt his strength despite his weakening frame. She knew the furrowed brows above his eyes and she knew she’d put them there with questions, questions a man can’t answer... but for her he had always tried.
The teenagers- out of school- were trying on love and buying ice cream. And at this moment neither the elderly man or woman could tell you the other’s name- or even their own. They had forgotten all memories to be here tonight, in this evening air, in this sweetest part of Summer, to know once more what it was that brought them all this way in the first place.
He turned to face her, and she to him. “I want a divorce.”
Some kids ran past with sparklers, lighting up the night sky with pure white light.