We sat beside each other on the patio, the evening breeze playing with my hair. Rows of tired, dusty houses lined the valley below, sweltering in the sun’s dying rays.
In silence, we sipped our drinks. The words hung heavy in the air: he would be moving soon. To the other side of the country. Leaving me behind.
And he was taking his family with him.
Now, I never said I wanted him to leave them for me. I never foresaw a long-term, committed relationship between us. I knew he would be leaving. I knew it would be without me.
… but yet we were here. He doubted his choice, the only choice he could make. The strongest person I’ve ever known – and he doubted the way he wished to go.
And he wanted, so strongly, to leave with me.
Reaching for my hand, his piercing blue eyes locked with mine. They shone with longing, his desire emanating through his gentle grip. And he said one word.
That was her name. The name we had chosen. A knife twisted in my heart. A rush of emotions I had locked away for ages – years – came pouring out.
Why did you make me remember our impossible dreams?
We sat in silence. My heart bled openly out of my chest. I watched as it filled the valley, the river, the trees, the wind.
And yet it still flowed.
His hand reached across the divide and settled on mine. A worn, gold glint shone on his left hand.
“Please,” he said, “please don’t let this be goodbye.”
My mind’s cogs raced. I saw myself, a wanderer, a vagabond, years down the road. Alone and isolated. Forever bound, but never free. Bound by this, my sin, my pain, my longing. Afraid to get too close, because of this: my secret.
I will carry it forever.
I squeezed his hand in reply.