Volume 2 Number 1


Winter 2003

Reflection on the Future

Asher Black

Her smile was liquid, looking at the young man’s black hair and then across at his grey.

"You still make me hot, you know."

"Nnn. You’re not supposed to say things like that when we’re out. You know what it does to me.

"Yes. That’s why I do it, of course. And it’s why you always like it."

He squirmed pleasurably and inhaled the sharp, woody aroma before he took a barely audible sip, pulling it along the full surface of his palate.

She watched the languid motion in his throat as he swallowed, and showed her teeth.

"What do you think they’re talking about?"

"If I had to guess? I’d say they were talking about us, of course."


"Mm. Well, it would make sense."

"Yes, it’s true."

"They’ve shoplifted a few glances. And now she’s saying…"

"Wait. Say it just like it’s you."

"All right."

Her tone was mildly covert.

"They look like they come several times a week for coffee and just to talk."

"And to look at each other, and flirt, like we do."

"Yes. Surreptitiously, because it’s so wonderful to draw it out, and then go home together afterward."

"Yes, it’s diabolical. And it makes him want her."

"Yes. He wants her."

"Nnnrrr . He can’t help it."

"No. He shouldn’t try. He should just let it happen."

"He can be ferocious, though, if necessary."

"Oh, she’s quite sure of it. In fact, she’s counting on it."

"I want you."

"As I want you."

She pursed her mouth over the rim of the mug, letting the steam moisten the fleshy surface. She didn’t paint her lips. When the blood flowed to them, they were all the more genuine and interesting.

"She’s young and lovely. But I want you even more now than I did then. If that’s possible."

"Mmm . I know what you mean." She inhaled suddenly. "Look."

The young woman was placing a small, sharp green leaf in his hand. He pressed it gently to his lips.

"Can you tell what she’s asking him?"

"The same thing that’s on our minds, except that we know the answer."

"Yes. ‘Will it always be like this? Will we be like them, when we’re older? Wanting each other just as much? Always friends and still lovers?’ "

"There’s no difference for us."

"Always looking at each other, and always tangled together in our thoughts, always a little short of breath."

"One shared mind in two bodies."

"I hope so."

She reached across the table to touch him. He slid both of his hands into hers. She pushed her ankles along the insides of his.

"It’s all they can stand."

"Her knees are a little shaky."

"And he’s just barely trembling."

"Let’s go home, too."

Her palm was warm and absorbent. He knew that his pupils were dilated. They closed the door on the capsule and set the date ahead to when they’d left.

"Of course, we could tell them."

"But we won’t do that. They already know. They only ask so they can hear the internal answer."

"Just like when I ask if you want me."

"Yes. Just like that."

"So they can hear the response in their words, know it in their thoughts, and find it with their hands and tongues."

"Looking back or looking ahead, there’s one constant."

"It’s everything. It’s the whole world."

He pulled his hand from his pocket. It held a small preserved green leaf.

"They always knew."

"Yes, we do."

Time opened, and two lovers plunged into it.