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He decided to smoke another cigarette.  He lost count of how many he smoked since he started waiting for her.  He took out a cigarette and put it to his lips.  He missed her terribly.The creek trickled below his feet, the moving water more alive than the cattails sprouting from the bank.  If he carried a watch, he would have known the time, though the setting sun gave him a good idea.  If he had a phone, he could have called to make sure she was okay, though he never knew her to be otherwise.  He took a drag and reread the plaque in the middle of the bridge: “In memory of Julius and Martha Past, March 21, 1982.”Ashes fell from his cigarette onto the wooden planks of the bridge.  He wondered about Julius and Martha.  Were they rich?  Did they die together?  Why is this bridge in their memory?  His mind then shifted to the last words he spoke to her.  He knew he could not take them back.  He foresaw this day many times, but hoped it would never come.  His hope was never as strong as his reason, which was never as strong as his senses.  Regrets overwhelmed him.Almost done with his cigarette, he walked the length of the bridge.  The sun dropped below the trees and the moon made its first appearance in the eastern sky.  He decided to stop waiting and leave.  He knew he would never see her again, and there was nothing he could do.He flicked his cigarette onto the bridge and watched a thin line of smoke rise from where it landed.  He thought about Julius and Martha and their legacy in the world.  The first stars of the evening appeared above.  The continuous murmur of the flowing water spoke a language he failed to understand.  He thought about her and déjà vu struck.  He contemplated smoking his last cigarette, but decided against it.He thought about the future as he walked away.  The cigarette smoldered on the wood of the bridge until it bore a new fiery life, active and unconscious.  Born from his deliberate carelessness, it evolved into an unrelenting force, destroying to live.  The flowing water accepted the charred memory of Julius and Martha, sweeping it back into the cycle of the natural world.

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