“I had the feeling we were close.”
He flicked his cigarette away and turned, leaning his back against the railing.
“I had the feeling we were real close to getting there, you know.”
She was pulling the collars up around her ears, the wind tugging stray hairs from the purple band on her neck. Her mouth was hidden behind the lapels of her coat, but he could tell by her eyes that she was listening.
“I don’t know,” he continued. “I just can’t help but feel we blew it.”
“We didn’t, though,” she said.
“I’m not sure.”
“How many times were we there together? Over a hundred? It was the same every time.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“What would you have done differently if you could go back?”
He thought for a moment, reaching into the paper bag for a doughnut. He chewed it while overlooking the patina-coloured waves and extended the bag to her. She took it.
“I guess I’d do more,” he said. “More of the same, I mean.”
“You know, Einstein said it’s insane to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.”
She took a doughnut from the bag, holding it under her lips for a moment before biting into it.
“Yeah,” he said, “well, maybe sanity was the problem.”
“You need to be sane. At least most of the time.”
“It’s during the rest of the time something important happens, though.”
“Depends on what you mean by ‘important’.”
They walked down the pier together. Under the featureless sky, the arcade was burning with a dull flame. They passed it on the outside, keeping their bodies pressed against the railing.
“Do you regret anything you did?” she said.
He thought for a moment.
“No,” he said, “you can’t live like that.”
“But you feel something is missing. Like you are missing out on something, and you’re sad about it. But there’s nothing wrong with being sad. It’s a thing in itself. It’s worth something.”
“What’s it worth?”
She smiled at him, handing the bag over.
“Today, it’s worth the last one.”