For hours on end she just walked and walked, not stopping or lifting her head. She seemed oblivious to the dozens of people that stared. Twice she actually hit a pole; still she kept a strange, wistful, sad expression on her face, as if her mind was somewhere distant and she did not care what went on around and what happened to her.
Her steps were slow, she seemed to be dragging her feet. A shop owner observed her with a furrowed forehead and started reaching for the phone, but just shrugged his shoulders upon checking her clean, decent appearance, the branded phone in her hand.
The sun was high up in the sky when she started walking. By the time she reached the park, the lake was pitch black.
He was already there, seated on the all-too-familiar bench, his back to her. His shoulders were hunched. He hardly moved.
When he heard her footsteps he turned his head just a bit. She waited for him to look up but his eyes remained fixed on the ground.
She reached our her hand, which froze mid-air for several seconds before finally touching his shoulder, ever so lightly.
His hand went up and covered hers. Her hand turned palm-up to clasp his. They both breathed heavily as they felt each other’s warmth, if only for a little while. Neither dared look at the other; rather, they stared out into the invisible lake.
Soon she let go, took a few steps, sat beside him. Both their backs were hunched now. With hands on their own laps they continued staring out into the lake in silence.
One inch, and the world, separated them.
She did not know how long they were there, did not notice when she started fumbling the ring on her finger; she just felt conscious of the cold metal all of a sudden. When she turned to look at it the miniature stone seemed to blind her.
She felt him looking at it, too. She turned to see him but his head was bowed, face turned to her hand. She felt a familiar fondness as she studied his hair. She still fought the urge to pull the gray strand that stuck out from his crown.
There was no point in prolonging their common agony, so she began slipping the ring off her finger. She thought she heard a soft gasp — Did that sound come from him, or did she involuntarily let it out? She could not even tell.
She gently took his hand, put the ring on his palm, used her two hands to close his fingers around it. The fingers made no protest.
Before she realized what was happening he had stood up and thrown the ring into the darkness.
He let out a big, deep sigh and pulled her up to him for one long embrace. One last time. When they finally let go they held each other’s hands again, gazed at each other wearing the saddest of smiles. Then she gently pulled her hands free. She turned and walked away, steps as slow as ever, not looking back.
*Writing exercise, “Body Language,” courtesy of Writing Forward. May I just say: Boy, was this hard! And this post got cheesy!!! Haha! I was actually unable to meet the required two pages 😦 Fun exercise, though.