Him & Her
She traced the tired worry lines on his forehead, right down to the tiny curvature of his lip as he slept. The horrors they had endured together seemed safely tucked away as she steadied her breath to match his.
He had aged so much since they first met that fateful day, but she never noticed the white strands creeping in around his face or the sunken eyes, so tired and now so sad.
When had their youthful exuberance become this hollow excuse of a relationship she wondered?
She moved her hand south and rested it gently on his chest. His heart beat for her, it always had. She closed her eyes and willed to be transported to a time when there were no complications, just the warm embrace of a kindred spirit.
Falling in love is the easy part she thought. She had been swept away by his charm and spontaneous nature. He introduced her to a completely new world of exotic foods, hidden locations, ethnic music and an optimism that knew no bounds. She had been hooked from day one but would never give him the satisfaction by admitting it.
She thought back to their first kiss. The air was cool as it usually is up in the highlands. He weaved his fingers through hers as they walked under a star filled sky. He eventually picked a bench, sat down and pulled her onto his lap. They sat for what felt like hours, just staring at the lit city below. A comfortable silence so early on in a relationship is rare but she knew this was no ordinary relationship. The perfect moment eventually presented itself and it just happened.
A kiss that shook her world, one she could never forget.
Their whirlwind romance soon settled into a comfortable space and they became inseparable those first few months together. She was the calm in his perpetual tornado, the strong voice of reason. He was the sudden rush of adrenaline in her world, compelling her to constantly walk along the cliff’s edge.
He loved how smart she always sounded and would brag to anyone who cared to listen about the incandescent love of his life. She would blush but never interrupt and day by day he placed her higher on a pedestal. He worshipped her outright and she did too of him, but only in private and he adored the way behind closed doors, he knew a side of her she would never reveal to anyone.
But that was years ago. They were just kids back then. Now she hid her soul every night despite lying in those arms of his, the ache in her heart growing stronger with each sunrise. He too seemed withdrawn, a solemn replica of the man he once was. He would kiss her, hold her, bury his face in her neck as they slept but without the passion that once burnt between them.
They both knew it was over. But how do you say goodbye to your best friend, your soul mate, your once reason for living.
So like the jaded mass of couples around them, they pressed on, each day arguably more difficult than the next. She would end up hiding things from him. She couldn’t bear to subject anymore decisions to his intense line of questioning. She knew what was best for her even if she owed it to him to share it. He drifted further and further away, flirting dangerously with depression and thoughts of suicide. He couldn’t understand where it all went wrong, how he let it slip between his fingers. He couldn’t bear a life without her and yet it seemed her very presence was now the kryptonite of his soul.
He moaned a little in his sleep and broke her train of thought. She tensed and held her breath until he stopped and then allowed herself a soft sigh. He was a beautiful man with a beautiful soul. She looked around his tiny apartment, memorabilia from trips, books, photos and fun Ikea shopping trips ensured her presence was an omnipresent one and that suddenly made it difficult to breathe.
She jumped out on bed, this time not caring to awake him and walked into the shower.
When she finally got out, dripping wet from head to toe, he was sitting up in bed and said those dreaded words, “We need to talk.”