Small Town Sunset

By Rylee Rucker

Walking through town on the edge of evening, laughing and holding your hand, I feel on top of the world.

The sun is setting, covered by watercolor clouds that have been spread across the sky, but the streetlights haven’t blinked on yet. It’s warm and still light out, but late enough for the moon to be shining bright behind us. These are the remnants of summer, the last days of shorts and light breezes before fall sets in.

We pass the movie theater, and its classic lights shine brightly across the street. Except for the posters declaring the arrival of the latest blockbuster film, it probably hadn’t changed at all since it had been built back in the 30’s. In a town like ours almost nothing changes, except for the vape shops. I mention this, hoping to make you laugh, and I’m not disappointed.

Your laughter is bright and happy, and your smile sends a warm feeling through my chest, like I’ve just taken a sip of your favorite whiskey. If I could keep making you laugh forever, I’d be the happiest woman on Earth.

The wind picks up, just for a moment to remind us what season it’s meant to be, and you sputter as your long blonde hair flies into your face. Now we’re both laughing, and I don’t care about who might be staring.

You pull me along, too excited to show me your surprise to wait any longer. You take me down the street to your building, leading me up the stairs that lead to your apartment. We’ve done this a hundred times before, and the echo of my boots hitting the concrete steps is familiar. So is your apartment door, when you lead my past it.

You take me up to the rooftop, and it’s just high enough that we can get a view of the whole town. Above the buildings, we have a clear view of the sunset in front of us, and of the rising moon behind us. In a few hours, we might even be able to do some stargazing. Then there’s the blanket you’ve set up for us to sit on, and the bottle of wine keeping it in place.

“What do you think?” You’re nervous, though you’re trying not to show it. I smile, and I can see you relaxing when I do.

“It’s perfect,” I say, before leaning in to kiss you. We’re both smiling too hard for it to be a long kiss, but even as we pull away, the moment remains perfect. We sit and watch the sun go down, sipping cherry wine and talking about everything and anything.

This is the sort of moment that people like to live in forever. It’s nights like these, spent with the person you love, that we wish could never end. I used to think that way too; the first few times you and I went on dates that made the rest of the world vanish, I remember wishing that I could freeze time. But now I know that it’s okay for this night to end, because soon enough, we’ll have other perfect moments to spend together. And how could I ever want to miss out on them?

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