A Proposition

“Can we stay friends like this forever?”
Astra’s question caught me off guard. We were sitting in her car, afternoon sunlight filtering down through the trees above us, windows open to catch the breeze and listen to the trickle of the creek running under the bridge.
“What do you mean?”
She blew a stream of smoke aside, tapping her cigarette. “I mean, if you don’t find another girl. Can we just stay together?”
She didn’t sound finished, so I waited.
Astra sighed. “I know I’m heavy. I smoke. I have a bad attitude and can be really sarcastic. I’m not really attractive, so I don’t have hopes like you do. Don’t argue.”
I shut my mouth.
“But I wonder sometimes what it would be like to know you would be around forever. A constant. We wouldn’t have to have sex or kids or anything. It would be nice to know you would just be there.”
“We’ve been friends for a long time. If it could just, ya know, stay like that.”
Rather than look at me, she stared out the window, flakes of ash floating away from her fingers.

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