She looks at him like she has looked at him for the past year. Under her eyelashes, hidden behind a wave of hair. She laughs. He’s always been able to make her laugh. He has no idea that when she does she is not just saying thank you for making me laugh but thank you for being near me.
The feeling lingers but fades as it so often does. It is only after she has taken this step back that he finally sees something that wasn’t there before. He has learnt to look beyond first impressions. He has learnt to close his eyes and search with his heart instead.
A month or so passes with the first fluttering of hearts. They tiptoe around the awkward pauses and savour each first. They lift each other over the minor hurdles they encounter. Even when the first road block hurtles them in opposite directions, something pulls them back together again.
Not knowing what you have until it’s lost has never seemed truer for this pair. They charge onwards with a new light encasing them. They’ve been apart and now trust in the fact that they are better together. Unstoppable and inseparable until the unthinkable.
Circumstance tears them apart. They face the test every relationship fears. Long distance. But she is determined and he altruistic. They have a year under their belts already. They remain resilient until their goodbyes, enclosing promises in kisses, entwining trust in between their fingers, tears betraying their words of solidarity.
It is not long before the cracks appear though. He, favouring strength in silence, grows lonely and resentful of his former flaming self. But her can-do and must-do attitude treats her well. She flourishes under the challenge of independence, finding new sides to herself and creating new ties.
He panics. Calls it off. Then changes his mind. She sees this as a failure on his behalf. Her rock which she used to see as unbreakable appears to be cracking under the pressure.
It seems that for this couple at least, absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder but bitter. What was once solid becomes strained. They are afraid to let go but now toy with the question of what is there left to let go of? Is it giving in to the inevitable or giving up?
Bu perhaps the most potent question that lingers on their lips but remains unsaid, is where did it go?