“I can’t wait for it to cool off,” she says, leaning over in the folding chair to put down her glass and pick up her smokes all at once. The air is still heavy, even after the late afternoon thunderstorms, but he is more comfortable out here than in the artificial artic of their air conditioned house. “You say that now,” he reminds her. The cloud is breaking in certain parts of the sky. The smoke races out of her lungs to fill the gaps. “I just feel so bad,” she says.
He turns to face her profile, resting one foot on the other folding chair, leaning his elbows on his knee. “People,” he says, his wine glass spinning from light fingers and a steady wrist, “you just never know.” Her eyes reach back at his. They’re soft as he straightens up, reaching into the pocket over his heart for a lighter. He focuses on her in the hand cupped shadows of the flame. “How could someone do that?” She asks as the flickering dies out and she notices all at once it’s gotten dark. In the shadow that was his face, the cigarette’s cherry is shaking its head.
That is the only movement. The bushes lining the sidewalk have no rhythm on this windless Monday. The birds find pride in their titular view, and hang at their elevation to enjoy it. The trains rest. All the stop lights are red. It’s a silence only the city knows.
Someone decides to snap a picture, or sneeze. A cat jumps off, upsetting a trash can. From the bus station, a woman yells something. There’s an audible exhalation. He asks, “Did they give a motive?”
“Does it matter?” She says into the glass before finishing it off. He’s nodding as she’s gets up, setting off the motion light on the side of the house. “Need anything?” She shouts, and walks inside. He takes her seat, leans his head back. His hat falls onto the dusty concrete. The cloud overhead is starting to travel. The last bus pulls to the stop down the street, pauses for a moment, then continues, empty, on its route. Shadows are moving on the fence posts, cast out from the bright kitchen window. He leans back for his cap. She returns with a filled glass and a tired smile.