“I thought you don’t smoke,” he said, taking in her sunbleached hair, the scar through her left eyebrow, her slightly crooked nose. Surprised at the rush of feeling he felt as he formed her name in his mouth: Mo. They were sitting on the dock, halyards clanking in the distance on a soft evening breeze.
“I don’t,” she replied as she exhaled long and cool. “But I like the pretty pink ashtray. Where’d you get it?”
“Don’t recall,” he lied. “Some beach in Mexico.”
Fact was, he knew precisely where he got it. It had been the last day of his Mazatlan honeymoon, the one he had planned for months because that’s the sort of fellow he was. The flights, the tours, the resort, the scooters. Everything had gone according to plan, too, from dining to surfing to spelunking in places whose names they could not pronounce. Then, on the last day, the plan fell apart when she said “I can’t” one week after her “I do”. No explanation, either, just a lonely flight back with a suitcase full of shells collected for a future that did not exist.
Mo stubbed out her unfinished Camel, said quizzically, “So? what’s the plan?”
And then, he was suddenly on his feet, hurtling the shell out to sea and shouting, “I got no plan!” And the ashes were still floating away on the breeze when Mo stood up beside him, took his hand in hers and whispered, “That’s alright.”