They skirted the edge of the pond. Dragonflies flirted with water lilies, while a fountain stippled the surface with silver-dollar memories. College students drowsed on benches, backpacks wedged under their heads, arms draped over hangovers.
The day was summer warm on the couple’s arms, their necks. That pale, surprised flesh behind the knees.
A helicopter seed rained on her head. She brushed it away.
“Do you know how much?”
“I can hear it in your voice.”
“Good.” She swallowed. “Because I don’t know how to explain everything. Not now. The words won't—”
She pulled her sandal heel from a squelchy spot.
He took her elbow, while she lifted a foot to scrape off the mud with a leaf.
“We can talk about it later, then.”
She put her foot on the ground. And looked at him.
“So ‘later’ is still a . . . thing?”
He smiled and shook his head.
A duck led her little ones from the pond. The ducklings shook the water from their feathers. Waddling with a tender faith behind the mother, who charted a steady uphill course.
The couple followed.
She stepped over some goose shit. It splotched the flattened grass at regular intervals. Or maybe it was the ducks’ mess. At any rate—
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
At their approach, frogs popped like a chorus line into the murky water. She laughed and twined her fingers through his.
“Like there could be anything to fear on a day like this.”
He squeezed her hand in return.
“No,” he said, lifting his face to the sky. “Not on a day like this.”