I watch them talk, huddled over their coffee, whispering and laughing.
They look like old lovers, best friends reunited.
They are trading war stories.
The smoke in the air is not from cigarettes.
The man’s coat is stained and patched.
They meet here every year on the same date.
One talks of victory, the other talks of defeat.
They swap stories, strategies, philosophies, visions.
The woman talks to invisible people over her shoulder.
The man speaks of murder machines and ghosts. He talks on and on, but the woman does not seem to bore.
It takes a while, but I finally notice they are speaking in two different languages.
The woman is speaking in French, fumbling with an old walkman.
The man is speaking in Gaelic, hitting the table for emphasis.
The wind shifts.
I smell flames and gunpowder.
Her walkman begins to melt.
His coat sags and holes appear in the patches, followed by spreading red stains.
They finish their coffees, stand up, hug and depart.
She turns into ash, dispersing in the wind.
He falls to the ground and is still.
I leave the cafe.