for one hundred years

We walked along the river at night and I wake remembering the alternating columns of light reflected on its dark surface. The street lamps above - yellow and bright white - casting shimmering points of light while the water performed its undulations. 

In the tunnel beneath the bridge, I said things aloud that I had never said before. 

The stone path was uneven and so we stepped carefully. We could have walked for hours. The buildings rose up alongside us. The walls of glass and steel. The top floors lit like signal beacons, guiding travelers but not us because we knew the way. 

There was a bench, so we sat. Behind us, in the thick pachysandra, small unseen creatures went about their nightly tasks. We heard their rustling, their scurrying and we spoke of the state of things - our lives in this place.  

Will we be together for a hundred years? I asked and I looked up at the sky to see whether there were stars. I saw one, but there might have been more. You were wearing a yellow shirt. From the corner of my eye I could see yellow. This is not something, you said, that I am afraid of. 

But I am afraid. I am afraid that if we don’t speak of it, we will forget. 

There were times when I thought I wanted this to be different. This city, this river, this stone path. These columns of light. Even whether there were stars in the sky. 

On the other side of the river, there are cars parked in a line beneath the street lamps. One car pulls out and then later, another pulls in. 

I might have asked: Do I make you happy? But then I remembered that the word happy is a small, dark-winged bird that perches on the railing along the river and then ascends. It lands on the branch of the tree above our heads. It rustles the leaves. 

You point out another star. And then another. The sky is filled with stars. 

Look, you say, there is our hundred years. Spread out across the sky.