About a year ago, I met a girl who had just finished basic training in the Marines. She chose her leave here, as a lot of marines do, before they head off to the outer rim. The climate here is predictable and sweet, the people are friendly, and accomodations are inexpensive.
We spend a month together waiting for her to be shipped out. At the end of a week she moved in, as much to save money as anything else. She had her own room, and slept in it most of the time. She knew she had four years of hotracking in a tiny battlecruiser, so she wanted to enjoy the space while she could. We treated the relationship as roomies, though it dipped in and out of more intimate contact. I was happy to have the company. She could cook, too. We taught one another a few things, in the kitchen and in the bedroom.
One day we got a couriered message with orders for her. Her launch was coming for her in the early morning, she'd be leaving when I was asleep.
We walked on the shore of lake Ocean. We walked a couple miles, and ate a sandwich, and talked a little about our futures. On the way back, she put her hand in mine. Standing on the shore of Ocean, we lit cigarettes and smoked, still holding hands, now almost silent. She turned to me, and let go of my hand and put an arm around my waist. I slipped my hand into her hair, my fingers cupping the back of her head as I kissed her. We stood there after we kissed, noses almost touching, breathing each other's breath. I willed the moment to last forever, and all other stimuli turned themselves off.
Then she gasped and backed away. The cigarette in her hand had burned down and scorched her fingers. I looked down to see mine blackened and blistered. I didn't care. The moment was over. I still remember the feeling of her muscular arm around me, her breath, her hair smelling sweet and clean. I put that butt on my nightstand, where it is still. The scar on my fingers has long since healed.
This afternoon I found she had died in mysterious circumstances. I don't know anything else yet. She had put me down as next of kin. I don't know how to feel about this. I guess I kind of thought of her coming back to see me after her tour of duty. Maybe I even wished for it. Now I'll never see her again.