The blast of fine air revitalizes, buoys her.
“You know your talk of oblivion scares the fuck out of people, right?”
It’s the way they move, the translation of thought to action that makes them fit where other people don’t match up properly. She listens, watches the concern carve his face like a beautiful scrimshaw etching: Wistful sailor art.
“Are you happy?”
“Me?” He’s drawn up short. There’s an insult to concern, they both know this. She wants him to feel the dagger point of her worry. He winces. They could talk about condoms, chickens, marital discomfiture but not this. No questioning the integrity of his rock-solid anchoring role.
A word without inflection, for these two, an epithet.
“Yes… (defensively) I am relatively contented.”
In a dream she could play with his hair and smile while he talked this level of rubbish. In real life, there are consequences.
“So being compatible, that worked out, then.”
He knows. She pretends to underestimate, but he knows exactly the shade of her voice that means she’s poking fun. And she knows the precise alignment of his features that means he resents it. He volleys back, “Are you really okay?”
“Of course I am.” Lie.
“Talk to me.”
“Why do you do that?”
He zips her jumper up to her chin, pats her cheek. There isn’t any trust at this point; they are both flaunting the risk of each other, forever and ever amen.
“Cus. It’ll be fine. Are you gonna follow me down?”
“I’ll be there.” He says.
Neither one of them has committed to pulling the cord yet, but he’s safe on the plane, and she’s warming to the void. They’re digressing…
“I love you.”
For a second their fingers curl in a familiar pattern, and almost link, making contact but not catching.
“I always knew that.” she says, and turns resolutely around, and jumps.