A dining table stood in an empty field. The vibrant grass was clipped short and even, and it was cool and soft underfoot. Dashle admired the inlays in the hardwood. The table was square, and he set two cushioned chairs at adjacent positions. He checked the time; just under two seconds to sunrise. Plenty of time.

He put placemats on the table—unnecessary, but they helped complete the scene. The placemats were teal with white geometric patterns that complimented the ornamentation of the chair backs. Beside the placemats he laid out cloth napkins and dessert forks.

Dashle handmade the cocktails in swirling highball glasses using old-world spirits: cucumber gin, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, and a few healthy dashes of bitters. He begrudgingly added tonic to one glass, still disapproving of the departure from his original recipe. But there was always room for a little compromise.

He put his hands on his hips and examined his work. It could use a little pizzazz, and he still had plenty of time. He erected a white gazebo above and around the table and adorned it with flowers of every color—some of which would not be visible to the physical human eye—though the palette heavily favored purples.

And now for the most important part: the tiramisu. He knew better than to make it himself—baking was still an unreliable art to him. He placed the dessert between the two table settings, and just in time. He sent a message. Adavi, please join me.

In an instant, his wife was at this side beneath the deep blue sky of simulated predawn.

“Oh my, Dashle, how lovely! What’s the occasion?”

“It’s our anniversary, dear.”

She looked at him quizzically with her full brown eyes.

“In the outside,” he clarified.

“Goodness! Is it really? How long has it been?”

“It’s been 824 wonderful years,” he said.

She smiled. “They’ve just flown by, haven’t they?” The sun crossed the digital horizon, but she was looking at the tiramisu with barely contained excitement.

“I hope it’s good,” said Dashle.

“It’s wonderful. It always is.”

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