Her mouth opened, but no noise came. She swirled around the last few noodles of her fettuccini, hoping they would provide the answer she needed, just like the tea leaves her grandma used to read before apostatizing.
In another part of the restaurant, a pitchy variation of the birthday song had started up. His head turned in the direction of the music where a cluster of balloons bobbed a little too closely to the ceiling fan.
But she was trying to talk to him.
“Derik, I’ve been thinking …”
A bright red apron materialized abruptly beside them. “Can I get you a refill?” The overly chipper voice was a shock to her system, so entrenched as she was in her solemn contemplation.
“Thank you,” Derik chimed in reply.
A clear pitcher of water suddenly hovered between them, filling their glasses. There was the familiar “plop, plop, plop” of ice cubes falling into the cups as well. She hated having too much ice, but she managed a feeble “Thanks.”
“And let me get those plates for you.” Then apron and plate and fettuccini had vanished.
“What was it you were about to say?”
“It was … nothing,” she said. “Never mind.”
* * *
Story by Gregory M. Fox
from A Breath of Fiction’s archives