It was a hot, sticky day – ninety degrees and quite humid. They had to walk about two miles from the hotel to get there, and neither of them really dressed for the heat. Her tights were sticking to her legs under the orange sixties sundress she’d chosen that morning, and his jeans were just as bad but at least he’d removed his button-down plaid shirt and thrown it into his messenger bag.
The headstones were old, crumbling, the names worn off by weather and time; they could sense the history, the age of the place, even before they reached the entrance.
The small stones lead to larger ones, until they finally came upon the opening in the black wrought-iron fence that surrounded the site to a giant stone pillar with a bronze image of him.
Edgar Allen Poe.
They both loved his writing, but then who didn’t? They stopped in front of the monument to the great writer and he put his arm around her orange-covered waist, and she wiggled until it fell off.
“It’s so hot. I feel gross.”
“I know. But still, it’s a moment.”
She turned to look at him and stood on her toes to kiss him on the cheek. He smiled and patted her blonde hair.
“Yes,” she said, barely audible. He realized they were both whispering all along, and it made sense, considering the aged and morose atmosphere. He reached into his messenger bag and pulled out a withered copy of a book, the title worn off the cover not unlike the eroded gravestones. He proceeded to sit on a little step across from the monument and opened to a page marked with an old, leather bookmark.
She walked next to him, flattened the back of her dress and sat down, crossing her ankles. She rested her head on his shoulder, which he nudged so that she would sit up.
“Too hot,” he said with a sarcastic tone and a smile. She smiled and put her head right back on his shoulder.
He started reading out loud. “Once upon a midnight dreary…”