Kept For Decorative Purposes

They sat on a low rise and watched a handful of kids run around the stone edge of the park’s pond chasing the giant goldfish from the edges with a stick. Flashes of orange darted from the shallows, disappearing in the deeper waters.

“They’re koi,” she said.

“They don’t seem like it.”

She said she meant the fish, not the kids bothering them. He arched his eyebrows and leaned back against the tree, resting the bottle of beer between his legs. It was late August, the days still humid and warm, but the weakest leaves starting to yellow at their edges.

They ate sandwiches bought from the corner store and drank beer and didn’t say too much. There was a feeling of fragility between them, and both acted as though the wrong or too many words might cause this unnamed, but almost understood, situation to collapse.

The kids had left a while before they got to the last of the beer, both reaching for it at the same time, and both pulling back.

“So,” she asked. “Is it done? Over, I mean?”

“There’s one left.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

Prompt courtesy of Siobhan Muir’s – Thursday Threads


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