Glittering streets at night and a sidewalk cafe warmed by little heart-shaped heaters. Tea and coffee.

She was made a job offer. Not quite spontaneously: she researched the company and took it upon herself to visit their offices. Yet she should not accept. Not unless she wants to pay an enormous sum for breach of contract back in her city. She could do it, though. She could be with him more often. But not all the time; he still has to fly. It’s heartrending to say no.

So she has not said no. Not yet.

An alternate reality unfolds in her mind. She lives here in the Capital, on this very street. That balcony all the way up there, overlooking this cafe and probably quite a lovely expansive view, belongs to her.

In this alternate dimension she slips out of bed early enough to catch the gray sunrise over the rooftops. She sips warm coffee, impervious to the cold because he is sleeping in their bed, and that is enough. He himself joins her in a little while, thoughtfully draping a blanket over her shoulders. In this reality she has a piano, a full size grand, that dominates the stately living room.

They share a morning embrace, overlooking the snow-dusted street, which turns to lilac-petal-dusted sweetness in her mind’s eye.

What are you thinking of? he asks her, following her gaze up to the elegant little balcony that has arrested her attention.

Just the Capital, she replies.

The offer?

She nods.

You haven’t said no yet.

I love it here.

So do I. He sighs. But we probably shouldn’t do it. You have your Very Important Event coming up soon. You’ll want to be there and gather some glory.

I suppose.

Hey. He suddenly turns very serious. I’m so proud of you. What you’re doing out there is important. Besides, you know that moving here wouldn’t exactly allow us that much more time together. I still need to fly my routes.

I know.

But take the offer if you feel it’s the right decision. Don’t let me influence you.

Despite the risk?

You’re good at risk, he says.

That would be quite unwise, dearest. Besides, I like my work back there. At least now that I’m all promoted. Here I’d just be forced to begin again as a glorified bookbearer.

They sink back into silence but it is a warm silence. Together. Soon he will be finished these starter routes. Soon she will see him more often.

She will not say no yet, though. She will leave the opportunity hanging in the air like a firefly, anticipating the dawn. Keeping the portal to the other reality open. Gazing out over the rooftops.

Just a little longer.



Story © 2015 Clio Em.

Part of the series Airships. The preceding story is air currents. Images by Clio.

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