He meets her eyes, just once. She needs no more than that to know what he is thinking. His thoughts, indecipherable to any but her, her many years spent decoding the twisting thoughts in his eyes enabling her to know what he is feeling without having to ask.
She glances upwards, at the clear blue sky, just three clouds to mar its image of beauty and perfection, though, in some way, they merely compliment its wholeness, light and fluffy; floating wherever they are carried by the whims of the breeze. Just as she has been for these past three years. Whatever she has done, whoever she has done it with, it has all been out of her control. Left to the winds of fate to buffet her where they please.
Already she has seen too much in the emptiness above, and she swiftly returns her gaze to the ground. Her gaze so intense that she isn't looking, downwards just happens to be where her eyes are cast. Her thoughts racing, almost as much as her pulse.
He shifts, uncomfortably, next to her. A fleeting moment of contact, enough to send rivulets of memory shooting up her spine, torturing her with painful recollections. Recollections of nights, days, years. He coughs once, nervously. And it's shattered. She is jerked back to reality suddenly. Forced to awaken to what is real.
Why am I here? She asks herself.
Why am I here? He asks himself.
The tension should be terrible in its intensity, but there is none. Too many years of silence have eroded away whatever there would have been. Eroded away everything, leaving nothing but a hollow shell, and a complete lack of reason.
It's warm, uncomfortably so. But he is not sweating, too consumed with thought to spare a second to realise his surroundings, or what is going on. He shifts back in his seat, stretching his legs out in front of him and tilting his head back, towards the sky. Drinking in the image of serenity through his eyes, as he has done so many times before. But the serenity is nowhere to be found.
She half turns towards him, half draws breath, half begins to say something, falters, and gives up.
He half understands.
Was that the problem? He wonders. Was that the reason why, after all this time, it's like this? But that fleeting moment of thought is soon swept away in the fast-flowing eddies and currents of his mind, at the mercy of his tide of thoughts.
She suddenly realises, they're breathing in synch. Too long spent practicing, and now it all comes to an end. She chokes on thought, and the intricate pattern is broken, lying splintered on the floor, from whence it arose.
A single tear trickles from the corner of his right eye. It runs slowly down the side of his face, before spending an eternity hanging from his jaw. Then the fragile contact with the teardrop is gone, it falls earthwards, impacting on the ground with the tiniest splash, hardly audible, but they both hear it, and that is when he realises that it was his tear that made the sound. He scrubs fiercely at his cheek, in a sudden flash of movement, obliterating the thin trail it cut through the beginnings of his growth of stubble. In a moment, everything contained in that tear, a part of him, is smudged, wiped from existence.
She winces inwardly, cringing away from his sudden display of emotion. Afraid that she might feel the same. Refusing to accept her true feelings. Creating a tiny box, in the corner of her mind, and cramming everything that might trigger a hint of emotion inside the small space. Try as she might, she cannot close the lid, no matter how much she forces it.
Her tears join his, a steady dropping, breaking the silence, as they silently stop holding back. How are they going to manage this? After spending so much time in unison, to separate, and live as two halves of a whole. Each living an empty life, with nothing to remind them but their memories, which, try as they might, they cannot suppress.
He reaches out, to touch her hand, but she jumps back, as if from a shock. He withdraws in a similar fashion. How can they have sunk to this? Just a week ago, they wouldn't have had to even look at each other, and their hands would meet, of their own accord. Now every movement, scrutinised by the other. Interpreted to a depth that was never necessary before.
A bird crows, once, and again, the silence between them is broken, that moment in time, irreparable, broken just once by a solitary ugly cry, yet never to be mended, just left to the mind to toil over.
He glances once at her half turned back, and though she feels his eyes upon her, she remains statuesque. The gentle dynamic equilibrium of her breaths the only movement he can see. The only movement he cares about. For that moment, it is everything. Then nothing, as the moment passes, as every moment will. Confined to pitiful memory, to replay it over and over.
Her hair, gently blowing in the breeze, fanning out slightly behind her. Drawing his gaze. It's all he can look at. So many hours, he has spent gazing upon her, and yet it all feel so foreign, so alienated. So close that he could reach out and stroke it, as he has done, so many times. So far that he could never reach it in a million years of desperate reaching.
Suddenly, she scrambles to her feet, stumbling slightly, swaying for a split second, before she finds her balance, and retains the air of dignity that she ports constantly. There is no choice now, she has ended it. She strides off, slowly, her hair still waving gently, as if waving a final farewell. He raises his hand, compelled by something other than his own volition, and gives one solitary wave back, a single gesture at her retreating back.
She does not look back.
He slumps back on his seat. The tears flowing thick and fast now, with nothing to hold them back. But he doesn't care anymore. Each tear reflecting a little of the emptiness inside him, as it falls, hauled earthwards by gravity, before landing on the hard, unwelcoming ground and breaking. Sending tiny particles splashing in all directions. Each one, a teardrop, each one, three years in the making and a split second is all that it takes for it to vanish, in a spray of glittering beauty.
He stumbles, in an ungainly manner, to his feet, and staggers away, in the opposite direction to hers. Inside, he screams a thousand screams, none of them heard to the world, each of them reflected in the glistening orbs that flow from his eyes so readily.
What happens next, to either one, I do not know. I glance a little to my left, and see a woman. The one I have spent the last three years of my life with.
I meet her eyes, just once. She needs no more than that to know what I am thinking…