"Do you ever wonder what’s really out there?" asked Jeff.
Maria was delighted at the question. That old-soul depth was one of the only things she missed about Martin. The further from the divorce she got, the more Martin’s scant positive qualities surfaced in her mind. The drinking, the taunting, the fits of crying, all of that was just a little paler, and his slivers of inspired humanity had been coming forward in her mind, bright like stars dropped in a cold, hostile universe.
Jeff was the reflex, the calculated opposite of Martin: level-headed, functional, and overwhelmingly shallow. So his question sounded foreign, as though it had been posed by a real being haunting his body. Maria pressed him to elaborate.
"What do you mean?" she asked sensitively.
"Hah! It’s a joke! You know, something smart, like some French guy would say. On a stupid boat like this!" He took a swig from his unaspiring bottle of beer, and grinned oafishly to himself.
Bright like stars dropped in a cold, hostile universe… That is beautiful.