He owed it to her, didn't he? She had waited. That was not the case for so many of his friends. Or the girls who no longer had someone to wait for. When the letters had stopped. They sat at the café, their coffees sending tendrils of steam towards the ceiling- lingering just for a moment, then disappearing. His black, hers no longer distinguishable amidst the copious amounts of cream and sugar. An unbearably sweet concoction so early in the morning. The girl smiled and took a sip. I knew you would come back, she had said when he showed up at her door, a week after his arrival to the city. She had thrown her arms around his neck, whispering the words against his skin, I never doubted it.
But he had. Often. He fingered the ring in his pocket, a dainty little thing. He had bought it the day after Jimmy had died, feeling sentimental and all alone. It was modest, the country was poor, and he had little more to trade than a couple packs of cigarettes. A soldier's pay never amounted to much; he sent most of it home anyway. And yet she wouldn't know the difference. She wouldn't care.
He cleared his throat, hand moving to the mug in front of him, resting on the handle. The ring still sat in his pocket. Where it had sat through the months before he left, during the 21 hour flight, the week since he arrived. This morning. The waitress came by to refill their cups, but he waved her away. Had they been sitting that long? The girl's nearly empty cup answered his question. He had yet to take a drink. He looked at the girl, gesturing with his head that he was ready to leave. They each slid from the booth, she paused, smoothing her skirts down. Waiting for him. Reaching into his pocket once more he pulled out a few coins, tossing them on the table.
"Are you ready?" He asked, offering his arm.