March 30, 2021•288 words
He watched the smoke as it vanished into the incandescent glow of the street lamp. How long has he been here? He checked his watch -- it's been over an hour. Another drag and he dropped the spent butt, not even bothering to put out its dying embers.
"Cold turkey beat you up?", he heard the voice almost as soon as he heard the footsteps. She was smiling as she approached. "Sorry, I took my sweet time."
"Hey, fine by me," he said with a faint smile. Then, his eyes swept the cracked and dirty floor around them. "Shall we... head somewhere else?"
"Coffee?", she suggested.
They walked together quietly for a few minutes, their shadows slowly gliding through the faint halos of street lights.
"Hey, I heard about it..." She said hesitantly, breaking the silence.
"News travels that fast, huh?"
"There are some things better not hidden, you know?". An air of concern filled her voice.
He stopped in his tracks. "There are also some things that should never see the light of day."
"And I guess you think this is one of them?"
He shrugged. In his mind, though, he struggled at what 'this' actually meant. "Would it help if you knew about it from the start?"
"No," she quipped. Then, as his heart began to sink, she took a step closer. "I don't need to know that. It's enough, what I see from you. I don't need anything else."
The words caught him by surprise. He looked up, and saw her looking at him intently.
And he smiled. After what seemed like forever, a happy smile.
Above them, the new day struggled past the fading darkness. It was an uncertain dawn... but a dawn nevertheless.