He spreads out a map between them on the table of the diner, then smooths it with a flat palm. He hovers his pointer finger of the map, moving it around in circles, the gestural equivalent of a filler word. Finally, he presses his finger onto the paper. A destination. He raises an eyebrow. A question.
Staring at his eyes rather than the map, she sips her black coffee, just as bitter as she is inside.
Where on this map was he a year ago, a month ago, a week ago? He was with her yesterday, but even then, his mind was far away.
His eyes intensify. The question has remained unanswered for too long.
She drops her gaze and looks at the paper for the first time. At the tip of his nail is a tiny town a few hours’ trek away, just off the highway–a place she had never once considered going.
She has never been much of a follower, and she’s never been much of a risk-taker either, preferring to forge her own path exactly where she is. The oxymoron of that has never been lost on her, but she likes it that way. He was always a wrench in that oxymoron, one that was usually at a far enough distance that she could ignore it.
But not right now. Not while he is right here.
He is going to that destination at the end of his pointer finger no matter what she does. She knows that. Among all the choices she has, making him stay is not one of them. She’ll have to choose something else, make a compromise that she doesn’t want to make.
She raises her head so that her eyes meet his again as she gives a forced smile and nods.