Zaedah's first foray into The Glades. If the couple is unclear, you haven't watched the show enough : )

Crinkled Fortunes

An object is easy to find when one knows where to look.

The fortune cookie slip has been pinned to the corkboard for three days, a tiny white flag to signal slow surrender. Below the schedule sheet, above the blood drive reminder. Others see it there, slightly crinkled on one end. No one questions the statement of fundamental truth. No one peers deeper into the meaning as if it contains the source of being. Except that she struggles to keep her gaze from the phrase printed in blue ink above someone else's lucky numbers. One. Twelve. Eighty.

Lucks dines with other people.

She hadn't pulled the fortune from its crunchy shell, hadn't stuck the thumb tack into the corner. It's simply here and her eyes are compelled to acknowledge it. Often. Like a conscience on paper. By lunchtime on the fourth day, the fortune has vanished.

No one reports it missing.

From the dark of her pocket, a dozen words call, incessant in its belief. She knows the object, knows where to look and find. It's the after that scares her. Easy is a lie. It's not her world, her wisdom. Hers is to duck and cover. She's been taught by the stranger with the familiar face, the one who'd found her years ago and still knows where to look.

What he sees is her new hesitation to again be his object.

But the other sees things she's yet to name, things that brand the genetically impatient man saintly. Things that make him wait on maybe and complicated and soon. The whys are elusive. Their language is peppered with silences that drag the whys behind without letting them lead the procession. Only once did that door open and they'd been too busy draining each other carnally to notice the reasons lying on the floor beside them.

Still, like the paper folded in her hand, he abides.

He trusts that sharing the maybes will alter their state, that complicated can be untangled so that soon can become now. For all he's seen in this reckless world, he maintains a connection to the possible that coaxes him past the frustrations that she crafts. She remembers hope like that. It had gotten off the bus briefly between the first time he broke eighty and the last time she attempted a divorce discussion.

But fate can play both passenger and driver.

Her offspring will sleep soundly with a borrowed family of united parents. The kind with time. Higher learning is laid aside as she robs the clock of precious minutes. Because she knows where to look. Knuckles hover at his door, fail to follow through. Despite recent tensions born of this insipid waiting, the invitation has never been revoked. The knob turns freely, opens to a darkened house. But no Zen phrase needs to light the path.

The pool, an open beer and a man drowning.

So deep in thought, the object misses her arrival. Unsafe for a man who collects enemies like it's a competition. The beer is swiped and drained, the residue left unspoiled on her lips as a substitute aphrodisiac. Finding does not mean possessing and she must acquire his attention from the chasm that the unsolved creates. He might know where to look, but when is debatable.

The fortune gives her both and she's in the mood to share.

The kiss is engineered to remind him of all he's waiting for, her hands meeting on his flesh in a prayer for vigilance. For now it's the right kind of silence, choked with whys. And she remembers hope like this. The bus has left but hope remains at the curb. Waiting for direction, for a break in the traffic to navigate safely home. Waiting for complicated to unknot into a long, single strand of possible.

The stars look away for a while.

Later, he'll ask about the tiny paper crushed in her palm, the lucky numbers unreadable except for the first. The one. In their passion the ink has rubbed off onto her skin, transfused by Florida heat and a merciless grip. It'll be hours before she washes it off. And in the morning she considers the mundane devices of fate. She hadn't pulled it from the shell nor tacked it to the board.

But the fortune, like him, was meant for her.