Do You Love Me Tonight? This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 19, 2011
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then his glance must be worth twenty pictures. Of course, as with most of the beautiful things in life, this was not seen. Instead the girl he had his eyes locked upon the midnight’s sky, searching for light. Everything fascinated her: a leaf rebelling against its branch’s hold; a jet using June’s sky as an Etch-A-Sketch Pad; a cicada belting out opera’s highest notes. There were people spotting and staring the couple no more than ten feet away, but neither of the two minded. In fact, they barely realized. As an observer would later note, their connection was impermeable to the echoes of life. But even in bulletproof bubbles, there are thoughts and questions.

“Are you happy with him?” The boy tested.

“Of course,” she turned and saw the expression she swore she never wanted to see again.

“Well, could you be happier with someone else?” He reached forward to move a strand of thick brown hair away from her face. She winced as his fingers glided over a dark bruise. Even behind concealer, its shadowed outline gleamed. His expression widened while she tensed.

“I love him,” the girl commented, avoiding eye contact.

“That’s not what I asked. Do you love me?”

Without response, she blankly checked the stars for the answer. It finally came as a “no” slipped through her lips. Silence played its role again and cut fluidity into patches of silence. He pulled himself from the ground, rolling upwards into a crunch. He started to unravel the ear buds from around his iPod while standing.

“Good, then dancing with a girl who doesn’t love me isn’t wrong,” he tugged her up, placing a bud into her ear and chose a slow song; the very one he had heard each Sunday evening as his parents danced in the kitchen. A tradition, they claimed, they’ve kept since their first dance as a married couple. And as everyone watched, he led the girl (he wished to call his own) step-by-step through the song.

When the music ended, they locked eyes and he leaned forward, gently kissing the oddly-shaped mark. “You deserve better,” he whispered then walked away, leaving her standing there with more than just another fascination.

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