The screw top snapped off and plastic cups filled, they slowly sipped. They’d be leaving for school in two days, going in opposite directions. Kaitlin experienced an overwhelming sadness at the prospect of their imminent separation. Seated on the swings, they drank until the bottle was empty, Kyle turning it upside down, draining the last few drops.
“Let’s go,” he said. Kaitlin reluctantly vacated her seat, following Kyle as he dropped the bottle, bag and glasses in a nearby trash can. Voices drifted from the center of the park, signaling they were not alone in their late night tryst.
Stumbling towards the lily pond, they shed their shoes and dangled their feet in the shallow water, eventually jumping in fully clothed, not concerned how they’d explain being drenched on a dry night when they finally made their way home.
“Come here,“ Kyle motioned Kaitlin towards him, and, locked in an embrace, they stood in the middle of the pond, oblivious to the world around them. They’d become close over the summer, working together at the neighborhood frozen custard stand, Kaitlin amazed he‘d noticed her.
She shivered and he asked if she was cold. “No,” she replied, her ear against his chest, listening to his beating heart. She wished she could make the moment last forever. “I have to go,” she edged towards the low wall holding Kyle’s hand and stepping out, hoped her mother wouldn’t be waiting up, asking questions.
They walked towards the street, Kaitlin’s fingers tightening over Kyle’s until the outside world was visible. Barricades stretched along the sidewalk ahead, and breaking free, Kyle raced up the hill, stopping to pick up a fallen branch. “Hurry,” he called over his shoulder and as Kaitlin approached, he squatted along the walk.
“What are you doing?” she laughed, water dripping from her clothes, squeezing her feet back into her shoes, her heart pounding.
“Look,” he smiled up at her. He’d etched their names in the drying cement of the newly poured walk, a testament to their love for all future foot traffic to witness.
Seeing their names, Kaitlin felt the significance of both beginning with the same consonant, thinking it must be an omen, signaling they were meant to be.
As he finished drawing the arrow going through the heart, the stick snapped causing the arrow to turn slightly at the tip, giving it the appearance of having broken in the process of piercing the heart. A light flashed on in a window across the street, and dropping the stick, the pair raced away with the light.
“Do you think anyone saw us?” Kaitlin asked, stopping to catch her breath.
“Who cares?” Kyle laughed and ran across the lawn towards home, blissfully unaware the heart and names carved with a broken stick would remain long after their love had disappeared.
Janet Yung lives and writes in St. Louis. Short fiction has appeared in several on-line publications including, “eMuse”, “Cynic On Line”, “Post Card Shorts”, “Shoots and Vines,” and “wtf pwm.”