I smile

I smile. Quiet, I tell myself. Don't let it show.

"Liar, liar, pants on fire," a small girl next to us sings. I can't help but marvel at her innocence. The day is what it's meant to be; the sun is dazzling and infects everything with a golden glow. The grass is greener, the sky is bluer and the scent of freedom is in the air. I can taste it as the breeze caresses your face. Today is like a scene out of a child's picture – where the sun is smiling and the grass is fluorescent, the sky sapphire and the birds are tiny 'm's in the sky. Today is innocent.

"So are we cool?" you are cautious as you ask me. You don't want to let it show.

I nod. It's not like it hurts that much anyway.

A smile breaks over your face. It hurts to see you so happy that I'm ok. Your eyes are still everything I remember. The green in them is more definite today, as the sun enlightens everything worth seeing. Your mouth is more perfectly formed today, your teeth are whiter than normal and I can still smell the orange flavoured Tic Tacs on your breath. Your nose still doesn't seem pronounced, and I refuse to believe anyone who tells me that I'm just wearing rose coloured glasses. Your hair looks better natural; the colour plays off your features as it drifts about your face, framing it in a way that makes me want to never stop staring.

You hug me close. I know that you're just thankful I'm not making a fuss, but I never want to let you go.

I breathe deeply and turn. Walk, I tell myself. Don't let it show.

You call my name as I begin to move and it's different. I can hear it in your voice. It's subtle but its there. You used to let it roll off your tongue, like a well formed idea. You let it grow within you until you couldn't hold it in any more. I never liked my name until you said it. I always thought it was dull, and unexciting. Monosyllabic, it would fall out of the mouths of everyone, and land in a heap on the ground. When you said it, it would float across the sky and into my ear, curl up in my mind and stay there. I would lock it away for a rainy day, next you the memories that made me smile; the laughter of my cousins, the loyalty of my friends and the meaning of my favourite songs. Now it's a question, one that hangs in the air and looks at me, bemused. It's not a question I want to answer but I turn around again and smile.

"You understand don't you?" you are guarded as you watch me. You don't want to let it show.

I nod. It's not like it hurts that much anyway.

You let me walk away. Each step is a new promise to myself – I'll be ok, I don't need you. I convince myself it will work in the long run, but I can't look past now. I try to count the hours in the rest of my life, and know that you won't be in them. The tears begin to fall as I walk from you. I catch a glimpse of myself in a window. I was never a pretty crier. Some girls can still look beautiful; I look like a soggy tomato. My hair is still sitting right, and it seems too bizarre that something still works when nothing is the same. My clothes that I picked out just for you now seem so insincere, like a broken promise.

The train echoes past me and the doors open. People rush past, avoiding eye contact and I take a seat. My hands feel empty without yours clutching them.

I close my eyes. Stop, I tell myself. You're letting it show.

I stare down the carriage to the farthest doorway. A girl holds an unseen boy's hands and leans backward, laughing. She trusts more than anything that he will support her. Her face is alive as she smiles, her eyes filled with the secret of a thousand joys. She leans into the boy now, and closes away the secrets beneath her lids. She knows she is safe. I want to scream at her to stop and run before he breaks her heart, but I don't. I keep watching, the avid viewer of a chick-flick, knowing the end but watching anyway, waiting for the twist. The boyfriend comes into view for a second. It's you; there's the twist. You see me and stop, your eyes wide.

"I'm sorry," you are wary as you call to me. You didn't want it to show.

I nod. It's not like it hurts that much anyway.

I get off at the next stop. I don't know where I am but I know it's safe. The deserted train station is reassuring. I close my eyes and lean on the wall, sliding down it sharply. It's a forgotten station, left behind in the development process. One ticket turnstile sits at the entrance, encouraging people to do the right thing and validate their ticket. A bench lingers at the other end of the platform, patiently waiting for someone to use it. A bin stands next to it, and rubbish surrounds them both. The bricks are old, past graffiti fading, and not yet covered. Overlooked, the station waits patiently for the next express to speed through it. I stand and wait, close to the edge. The next train is coming, I can hear it. I lean forward over the tracks, examining the rubbish on the ground, ready to catch myself if I do fall.. But somehow, I can't, and then I'm falling towards the ground, in the path of the next express. I close my eyes.

A hand grabs me a roughly pulls me backwards on top of a stranger. The train horn sounds, a little too late as the next express hurries past.

I open my eyes. No, I tell myself. You shouldn't have let it show.

I turn to my knight in shining armour. He watches me, catching his breath. His blue eyes have more questions than I have the energy to answer. His skin is dark, not too dark, but tanned and warm. It's smooth and flawless; I can see every crevice in his face from where I sit. His dark hair sits back off his face, and opens his appearance to the sunlight. His mouth is gasping, and poised, ready to talk. But his eyes tell a different story, as he drinks in my features. Slowly the questions leave his eyes and his breath returns to normal. I catch a glimpse of my reflection in his bright irises. My hair is messy and my clothes dirty, but they seem more earnest than they did this morning. And then he smiles.

"Are you ok?" he is sincere as he asks me. He really wants to know.

I nod. It doesn't hurt that much, anyway.