She knew this was going to happen.
‘’Can I have a word’’ he’d said. A word. The expectation itself meant more than just a quick hello.
He was sincere. She had listened. Neither of them could give each other eye contact, a complete juxtaposition to the last time they had been in each others company.
She looked at him; he’d had his hair cut. He knew she liked the way his hair curled at the nape of his neck- yet they had all been cut off- as if defiant towards her. He was wearing the jacket she advised him to buy, he looked good. Again she felt a pang of a memory both made and unmade, what was and what could have been. The tears pricked again.
She tried to remain upbeat, she told him she liked the way his hair fell at the front; he rejected the compliment. She told him she liked the way he looked in his jacket. He didn’t respond. She told him that at least he’d look good whatever else happened. He didn’t say anything.
He looked vulnerable and yet he was in control, he knew what he had to say and it had to be said there and then.
She admired that, at least he kept it quick and to the point, like removing a plaster.
He told her he had to let go, let go of her and what was and what could have been. He told her it was going to be hard, his feelings were still the same but there was nothing he could do to convince her.
She nodded silently; she looked over her shoulder, allowing herself a brief moment to wipe away the tears that were threatening to fall- her giveaway.
She looked back, she nodded again- she told him that was the right thing to do. Despite hearing herself, she noted how detached and objective those words were. It was one of those times when logic and rational prevail- emotion has no place here. This was the pain, the pain of those words cutting away at the romantic notions of a life and love that could have been.
He had to leave; he said he had things to do, work that could not wait. She stepped forward and embraced him, she felt the memories of that familiar embrace drain, like revisiting a familiar dwelling many years later- the immediacy of the feelings they had known were no more. They had reached that fork in the road and they were on a different course.