Neon letters illuminated puddles collecting on the empty street, housing the only building in the area.
The faint hum instrumental music filled the air as the distance between myself and the door closed, the sign revealing where I was: The Last Stop Cafe.
"Hello, and welcome to The Last Stop Cafe. What can I get for you?"
The woman at the counter reached for the ivory mug next to her. The cafe was barren, with only me and the barista occupying the space together.
Her grey hair swayed as she cocked her head, waiting for a response. I made my way closer, reading the chalk menu and deciding what I would order.
"I'll take a cup of hibiscus tea."
"That'll be ready in just a moment."
I glanced around. The sound of raindrops and music harmonized for a tranquil aura inside the cafe. Lights were strung up near the ceiling.
The counter itself was rather empty, with only ingredients for coffee and tea, as well as a tip jar filled with miscellaneous items.
"What do I pay?"
"Payment? Dear, we're in the land of the lost. We don't have currency here. We're dead.
If you'd like, you can leave behind an item in the tip jar, although it's mostly filled with memories that people would rather forget.
" The barista walked over and pulled an ornate golden ring out of the glass jar. "I think this was a wedding ring. Heartbreaking, isn't it?"
She handed me the ring. It was beautiful, tiny flowers molded from gold adorning the band. I placed it back into the jar and took a seat at one of the many empty tables.
I pulled a tiny book out of my back pocket and took note of the cafe's name.
"So, I don't suppose you keep a running list of the final destination of all of your customers?" I call to the barista as she continues making my tea.
"Afraid not, my dear. Unfortunately, you don't form too many substantial relationships in the hour or so that my customers stay before moving on.
Certainly not long enough to get to conversations regarding final destinations."
"You think so? What was your final destination?"
"It's been so many years since I've thought about something as trivial as a final destination, and if you desire any peace of mind, you'll ignore yours too.
The 'final destinations' they give us when we reach the end are ridiculous."
"Tell me, have you ever heard of anyone who has actually reached the place where their eternal happiness lies?"
"Well, I've only been here for a few weeks so-"
"Don't worry, I can answer the question for you. They don't. In all of my time here, not a single person I have met has actually reached their destination.
It's a fruitless adventure, only to fill the endless void of time in front of us."
"You really believe that to be true?"
She silently placed my cup of tea in front of me, steaming hot as the rain continued battering the roof of the cafe.
"I do," she whispered as she pulled up another chair to my table and sat across from me. "So you tell me, what did they say your final destination was?"
"I don't know. I told them I wasn't interested and left before they could stop me."
"Not interested you say? That's a first," the barista chuckled. She was sitting close enough to me that I could read her nametag that read 'Sylvie'.
"Tell me then, what are you interested in doing for the rest of eternity, if not even attempting to find your 'happiness'?"
"I don't need to find a place that can make me happy. I already know who I need to find, and I am prepared to spend an eternity to find her.
" I sipped my tea, it finally cool enough that I won't burn my tongue on it. Although, maybe it's impossible to feel pain here. I'll test that theory later.
Sylvie glances as my hands as I pick up my cup. I think I see the corner of her mouth quirk up.
"What's her name?"
"Well, could you have imagined this turn of events?"
"Do you remember me?"
"Of course I do, Marnie." I couldn't hold my smile in. I reached to hold her hand, but Sylvie stood, just out of reach.
She walked over to her tip jar and grabbed the ornate gold ring she had shown me and placed it on her finger.
"Why'd you take it off?"
"I couldn't stand the thought that you had moved on after I left." Sylvie walked back to me and laced our fingers together. They still fit together perfectly, even after all of these years.
I felt tears of joy prickling behind my eyes.
"I didn't. I couldn't, not after you." Now it was her turn to smile. I looked down at our hands, both adorning identical golden rings. "I missed you."
"As did I, love. As did I."