Saturday’s Sunset Love Story
Justin H. Lo
The two girls were perched fluidly upon the stone wall that overlooked the distant cityscape.
“Is it really over, Kate?” asked the first girl, whose short black pigtails swayed in the wind like pendulums. She anchored herself with the palm of her right hand, leaning in to hear the other girl’s response.
Kate stared into the warmth of the setting sun, her eyes shimmering without tears. Before her, the landscape sighed gradually, exhaling the last wisps of day like an elderly man cooling his tea.
“Of course it’s never over,” Kate said simply, “but there were so many things so very wrong. We weren’t happy for such a long time. Such a long time.”
Such a long time, echoed the landscape as the wind gusted past, nearly blowing off Kate’s light straw hat, which she grasped reflexively in a sudden movement that scattered the young birds that had found shelter beside her warm body.
After the wind subsided, Kate sank lower into the wall, until she seemed to melt away completely, save for her chest that rose and fell gracefully with every breath that she took. She looked so alive, so vivid, in the orange-red lights.
As the colors receded, Kate lowered the brim of her hat, hiding away the features of her face. She may have closed her eyes, or they might have been open, but no one but her could have known. Whenever the wind would chance to blow, she would whisper a phrase, but she would stop the moment the rustling halted. And in this fashion, she recited a tale so sad that even the grass wept as the words swept over it. The green blades bent over to hug each other, sharing the sorrow riding in the wind, but Kate could not see them.
“We weren’t happy for such a long time,” repeated Kate aloud after a long, timeless break. The other girl was shaken out of a reverie, thinking that the past hour had been just a dream. But it wasn’t, said Kate’s eyes from beneath the shadows of her hat.
“I know,” said the first girl quietly, without regard for the wind or the cars in the distance. Her voice was jarring to Kate, who shifted uncomfortably. “I saw you hurt so often. But it’s good that it’s over, isn’t it?”
Kate yawned, pulling her legs atop the wall and clasping her hands about them into a cannonball position. Realizing that her lips had been chapped by the wind, she ran her tongue along the dry skin, noting the textures that softened to the touch. She rotated her hat thirty degrees as she retracted her tongue and let her feet dangle once more off the edge of the stone wall.
“If he wrote me a song like the wind,” stated Kate, breathing deeply for two breaths, then shortening them until she yawned again.
The grasses had fallen asleep in each other’s arms, and the city was just a few scattered lights now. Kate removed her hat, the shadows no longer making a distinction between her eyes and her lips and her tongue.
“You know,” Kate said to the girl next to her, who was already snoring lightly, her head leaning into a cloth knapsack that they had used to bring their lunches, “if he wrote me a song like the wind, I’d return to his arms.”