“There’s an art to sitting alone.” She spoke leaning forward in the booth. Peeled edges of the Formica table scraped against her elbows as she put out the butt of her half-smoked cigarette. “And what is that?” he asked, undoing his heavy coat and digging for a light of his own. He had recognized her figure through the frosted diner window, sitting lonely, with a smoke and coffee. “It begins with one of these,” she said, accepting his offer of a cigarette, placing it limp between her lips. She began fishing in her purse for a match, but Danny had already pulled a lighter from his pocket.
“You see your hands should be doing something. Like you’re waiting for someone.” She inhaled her first drag with eyes closed, leaning back in the booth. An air of indifference enveloping her along with the smoke she exhaled. She continued, “It’s all about being comfortable with yourself.”
“You always have been.”
“It’s harder than you think.”
“Is it?” Danny looked intently at her expressionless face. “You know I still love you Amie.”
“Not now, Danny, you’ll ruin a perfectly good smoke.” She felt his eyes on her, but looked instead out the window, into the morning cold.
“We have to talk about this.” Was he pleading?
“I assumed we already had,” Amie replied, turning back to look him in the eyes, and seeing the man who held tightly the illusive idea of them. She needed him to let her go. Even if she loved him enough, things hadn’t changed — and she knew they never would.
“Amie — I need you. I need us.” He leaned forward, rested his arms on the stable. “I know you love me, I see it in your eyes.”
She shook her head.
“I’m sorry Danny. I don’t,” she replied. I can’t, she thought, taking another drag. They sat in an invading silence, her wishing she was alone with her cigarette. •