• The stick cut through the air in a short direct arc, striking the rough surface with single minded direction, a one track mind in a turbulent expansion. A small spark begins to grow, slowly at first but with rapid gain, growing frighteningly fast, greedily sucking in oxygen. Then, it explodes forth like a miniature sun, to suddenly die at a slight gust. The stick, now charred and disfigured, excretes slow, ugly smoke. It is thrown to the ground, and another is brought forth. Once more creating the miracle of fire, but shielded by a valiant hand, keeping the harsh, ravenous wind at bay. The match is brought up to another stick, seemingly made of paper and small leaves. The tobacco lights and glows cherry red as it is force fed oxygen from a mighty pull. The man holding the cigarette lets the smoke out, along with a long drawn out sigh. He takes a gloved hand and methodically taps the ash from the end of it. The man coughs, his breath still seems of smoke from the cold night air. He crushes the cigarette into his palm and straightens his coat while glancing around. There is no one in sight, and his heart sinks. He begins to wonder if she was actually going to come or not.
    Jack began to fret, anger mixing with sorrow and anxiety, creating a strange concoction more jitter inducing than any amount of caffeine. Jack's self esteem slowly dropped as his head began to fill with dark poisonous thoughts. Then, with a snap, Jack wretched his head back to reality, shaking free the cob webs from his cluttered mind. She will come. Jack waited and so she did.
    Jack beat a steady improvised tattoo on is shoe with his two index fingers, slowly gaining momentum adding diddles and rolls as it got faster and faster. Then, suddenly, another set of notes was added to the flowing music, one of shoes clopping on wet cement. Somehow strangely staying on beat with the improvised percussion instrument. Jack noticed this and halted his playing ,looking up. There she was.
    Jack stood up, with a warm smile on his face. "You're late" He said not begrudgingly. He stepped forward to give her a hug, opening his arms wide like to swinging doors to a large heated room.
    "Wait" Alysaa blurted out, looking up at him. Jack stopped his advance, looking at her with worry.
    "What's the matter?" Jack said, almost to quickly. He put his hand on her shoulder, trying to somehow drain the worried look from her face. She looked up at him, her eyes watering.
    Jack looked her straight in the eyes, stealing her attention and holding her head in place with a gentle caress. "Listen Alysaa, whatever it is, whatever has happened, I've already forgiven you, I don't care what it is."
    They embraced, and Alysaa wept in Jack's arms, his arm sliding up and down her back warmly, keeping her from tumbling apart. They stood there for some time, keeping each other warm and safe. And when the tears had dried, Jack whispered for them to sit down on the park bench.
    "Are you ready to tell me?" Jack said, concern written on his face as if with a thick black marker. He held Alysaa's as she gingerly nodded her head up and down, and wiped her eyes. Alysaa looked up at the night sky and took a deep breath.
    "I'm pregnant."
    And Jack smiled.