He walked hurriedly down the stairs. Lunch break was his favorite hour of the day
lately, better than going home in the evening and certainly better than weekend
s. Despite the stoic facade
he revealed to the world, his heart
raced with anticipation and he couldn't help but quicken his pace as he emerged through the revolving doors
on the ground floor. The autumn
day was cool and windy
and, as his eyes adjusted to the brighter light of the outside world
, he squinted across the street to the sidewalk café
where he had been dining almost daily for quite some time.
There was, as usual, a sudden shortness of breath
at the sight of her, sitting in the usual spot at the café
. She had her back to him, but there was no mistaking who it was. With a cursory glance to each side, he crossed the street and took a seat at his usual place across from her. "Hi," she said as he sat, "you're late." With a sheepish smile
and a murmur
, he flagged a waiter for his usual croissant
* * *
She looked at him and wondered, as she had on so many other occasions, what she was doing there. "You need to move on
," that voice always reasoned, "there's nothing for you here
" and yet... She thought she saw him move his hand forward and then check himself. But, then again, it may well have been just a figment of her imagination.
He was the true essence of a dream. One so close, yet so far. She was also sure that she represented something similar to him, even though neither had ever talked about it. Not in so many words
. Maybe today she could find the courage to bring it up, she had to make the effort.
* * *
wasn't lost on him and, as always, he wondered what she was thinking
. When she asked the question, he was half expecting it, as he always did, but was caught off guard all the same: "Why did you marry her?
" That simple, yet dreadful, question. That long unasked imponderable
that they had tried to ignore. All of a sudden, he had the words needed to express his answer to it. Or so he thought, anyway: "Because I thought I'd never find you