It was a single piece of red thread, just lying on the bench. One or two people might have noticed it as they walked by, but they spent little time on it, and none could have said where it had come from.
That did not make it unusual. Many things get left behind in this world. Often no one knows the story of how something came to be where it was. The world moves quickly, and people lose things.
A boy sat down on the beach, waiting for his mother and sister to finish in the store. Seeing the thread, he picked it up to play with it, to occupy his time. Absently, he wrapped it around his ring finger. The idea of love immediately popped into his head: meeting a woman, for coffee, at three o’clock.
The thought was odd and alien. He didn’t have a girlfriend, and he never drank coffee, so why did he think those things?
He unwound the thread, and the thought left him. The thread made him feel funny, so he put it down. Maybe somebody would meet the woman at three. Or maybe they’d already forgotten. The boy was already forgetting it himself. He just wanted his mom to hurry up so they could go home.
Later that day, when three o’clock arrived, he asked his mom if he could try a sip of her coffee. A bit startled, she agreed. He said he liked it and asked if he could have his own cup.