Picture this: a guy and a girl, walking in a park. Save for some people walking their dogs, they are alone. And they are walking, quietly, calmly, not really aware of their surroundings. They are surrounded by their own thoughts instead.
When the guy breaks the silence he is hesitant, as if he is choosing his words. The words that come out are placid, carefully controlled. He inhales after the last one, bracing for something. But to his surprise the girl shakes her head, smiles nonchalantly, and focuses on an impressive bloom of flowers – he doesn’t make an attempt to look where she’s looking because he is more intent in reading her thoughts through her eyes.
She is not there. There’s a serene smile on her face, a calm that he hasn’t seen before…and he cannot reach her. He doesn’t know why his relief has more than a tinge of sadness in it. He expects accusations, tears, and maybe anger and a slap in the face. Yes, he expects all those and and is ready for them.
But there she is, her face being caressed by the gentle April sunlight, her eyes closed now, hiding her expression from him. Her lips are tilted at the corners. She looks like she’s about to burst into laughter.
She opens her eyes and looks at him. He is somewhat bemused, she thinks. And a little irritated. She raises her brows and says, “I’m sorry – were you saying something?”
“No,” he says, roughly. “You’ve changed.”
She shrugs her shoulders. It is a graceful movement. It used to annoy him in the past because he never knew what she meant by it. He still doesn’t know. And the annoyance is turning to anger.
“You’ve lost weight.”
For once he catches her attention. She frowns.
“Too thin?” She made a little moue.
He looks at her lips, and her body. “I don’t know…”
“I have to eat more – I’ve been really careful with my diet. Maybe too careful.”
He looks away and asks, “You haven’t been sick?”
She stops, then shrugs her shoulders.
“Were you sick?” He asks in more demanding tone, this time not masking his observation of her body.
She looks at him sharply, suspiciously. “I was sick for maybe a couple of weeks. Nothing serious.” She steals a glance and sees his throat working. Oh no. He shouldn’t know.
“Sheesh.” Unexpectedly, she makes a twirl. “I’m healthy. Strong as a horse. I swear I can run faster than you.”
He smiles at that. But he notes her cheekbones, more pronounced now than it has ever been. Maybe it’s the sunlight.
She turns to him, her eyes shining, her radiant beauty stunning him for a moment. “I’m so glad I bumped into you.”
He feels strange, and he chokes on his words. “Me too. I’ve never realized how much I…”
She interrupts him. “Look around! Those flowers are amazing.” She raises her hands for emphasis. “The whole park! It’s beautiful. I’m so glad you brought me here today.”
She nods to herself. She’s away again. And this time the uncomfortable feeling on his throat spreads to his chest, his heart twisting painfully, his stomach tying to knots. He struggles to breathe.
“I haven’t told you,” he hears her say, as if from afar, but he doesn’t need the words. “This is where I’m getting married. I haven’t realized how beautiful it can be. Oh God!” She turns to him. “The most beautiful place on earth. I can see it.”
This is not happening, he thinks, and despite the warmth of sunlight he is cold all over, shivering, trembling, unable to take his eyes off her necklace, where a ring nestled between her breasts, sparkling in the sunlight, like ice. So cold. So cold.
“Please give me your address again.” She smiles apologetically. “I’m afraid I lost it. I’ll send out an invitation. You’ll come, won’t you?”
He nods stiffly, unable to say anything.
“Well, I have to go. It was nice seeing you again.” She walks away, graceful.
He opens his mouth, but words fail him. Her name on his lips doesn’t reach her ears. It is too late.
Written by yazzie, edited by amplifier and first appeared on www.peyups.com on 19th June 2005.