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Yesterday's Sunday Edition of The New York Times
Her loose, curly hair played with her shoulders as she faced the wind. Something was wrong. Her hair was down. Her hair was never down.
Wild grasses whispered around his feet as he stood transfixed by the motionless figure, unable to move because of his overwhelming instincts fighting with the strange power that held them both to their spots, only 50 feet apart. Suddenly, her jean-clad figure turned, and he automatically braced himself for her reaction once she realized he had followed her. That reaction never came.
The dusky light of pre-morning observed indifferently as the woman instead simply smiled. It was a dreamy smile, the smile of someone who had lost all touch with reality.
“She’s barefoot,” Seth thought, dazed, though he was unsure as to why it shocked him so much. Emma was somewhat famous in their small community for exploring the cliffs below their town shoeless as soon as it was tomato planting season. Or, at least, she had been. But it was not remotely spring time. It was the closing of her favorite season, autumn.
It didn’t make sense. Well none of it made sense- Seth finding her overlooking the ocean 200 feet below, shoeless, at 4 on a November morning.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Emma finally spoke.
“What?” was the only response Seth could form at the moment.
“The world. It doesn’t care. It will just watch, uncaring, while we live and die. It doesn’t matter to it whether or not you survive. It just doesn’t care.” Emma turned away, away from where the sun would rise in a few hours, away from Seth, back towards the ocean. “It just doesn’t care,” she repeated to herself as she took a step toward where the cliff gave way to open air. That got Seth moving, too. Now he was beside her, their shoulders barely touching, the way they used to stand before everything, despite Seth’s every fiber of his being sobbed at him to take Emma, turn around, and go home.
But there was no way he could go now, especially not when the space between Emma’s bare feet and his own, hastily clad in Converse, was shorter than a newspaper, unfolded to its fullest extent across a worn coffee table.
“Like the one at home on the table,” Seth absently considered in his head. “Except our copy of yesterday’s Sunday edition of The New York Times hasn’t been unfolded yet.” His mind examined this until Emma spoke again.
“Do you think that it would be better just to die? Right now?” Seth was about to respond with an, “Of course not!” or “How could you think of that?” when he realized something.
He was just as far gone as Emma. There was no turning around, repairing what their baby daughter’s death had done to both of them. There was not going home, fixing a cup of tea and going back to bed.
“Yes.” He said it aloud, so simply, as he found her hand in his. While the word watched, that newspaper turned into a rolled up one. The 28 year-olds took one more step.
Back home, The New York Times lay unread on the table.