They wrote stories about each other all the time, meeting up at their favorite bar to swap pages and read the latest installments in their literary sagas. Most of it was written from life, but she did make him a bit younger. 20 years’ difference seemed a bit much, even for her.
One night, just as an early summer sun was setting out over the bay, they finished reading and ordered another round. The sunset washed the whole bar in a golden light that looked like forgiveness. Saul had clearly forgotten their earlier argument over first person versus third person narratives. He slid off his bar stool, got down on one knee right there on the grimy floor, and took her hand.
‘Natasha, will you marry me?’
She paused for just as long as it took a sliver of light to illuminate a puff of smoke from her cigarette. ‘Yes, Saul. Yes, I’ll marry you.’ Their kiss was long and languid. An ache of lips.
Everyone in the bar was now watching them. Upon her saying yes, they’d broken out into cheers and applause. The bartender brought them a bottle of champagne, and Saul used a twist of the foil to make her a temporary ring.
That was nearly two decades ago and the sad thing is, she could no longer remember if he really had proposed, or if it was from one of the stories. They’d written their life into the fictions, and then at times had acted those fictions out. Reality had been a palimpsest back then. But then, everything about life with Saul had been amplified, an unsustainable intensity.
Perhaps one day, going through a box of old junk, she would find a twist of golden foil and then she’d know he’d actually asked. Either way, she still thrilled to the memory of it. It almost didn’t matter anymore, how much of it had been real.





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