His finger traced the single tear that slowly roamed down her cheek. The lamp was set low and the whole room was bathed in its gentle orange glow. The fire crackled quietly to itself, debating whether or not one more spurt of flame would be required or whether it should just give up and quietly die as the two people sat in front of it.
The dying fire flickered its gentle shadows on the lamplit walls, a motion-filled panorama of abstract pictures of things unknown and words unspoken. The dark red curtains were shut against the night and merely candles lighted the rest of the house. The doors were locked and the world shut away.
She looked deep into his eyes. He had big blue eyes, so expressive and so full of feeling. She felt that she could see into his soul through those open blue eyes. She wondered what he was thinking; deep down, in his heart where no one could see. Did he love her? Was he going to stay around? Would he leave her? Again? She lifted one small hand and pressed his hand against her cheek and looked penetratingly at him with the unvoiced questions. His eyes were soft, reflecting every nuance of the fire, and in his dilated pupils she could almost see her reflection. Every now and then he would blink and she would disappear for an infinitesimal fraction of a second before returning as his eyes opened again. His breath was soft on her neck, and she could still detect the soft aroma of the red wine he had been drinking. His lips were quietly mouthing words unheard. She tried to unravel the voiceless speech but couldn’t make out the words, although she was sure she deciphered the word sorry on his lips.
He couldn’t take his eyes off her. Her strawberry blond hair spilled over her shoulders and the lamplight danced in its curled tresses, picking out the reds and oranges in the blond and bringing them to life. Her dark brown eyes were ringed with the longest eyelashes he had ever seen and were framed by beautiful arching eyebrows. He could see her staring deep into his own eyes and wished he knew what she was thinking. Perhaps she was waiting for him to speak, perhaps she was plucking up the courage to speak, or perhaps she was just floating in the moment. He so wanted to speak the words his mouth was framing, but he didn’t dare to. He didn’t want to spoil the moment. He didn’t want her to drag those luscious eyes away from his. He didn’t want her to turn away from him, full of hurt and pain. Again. It had been too long since they were together like this, two as one.
His finger traced the journey of another wandering tear as it followed the first. She wasn’t crying, in actuality; the tears had sprung unbidden from a well deep inside her. A part of her that had been hurt before and desperately didn’t want to be hurt again. They rolled gently, one by one, these uncalled for tears, down her silken cheek and he watched their meandering descent with mounting concern. Her brown eyes brimmed with soon to be shed tears and an emotion that he couldn’t read. A single frown line marred her gentle brow as she struggled to work through her feelings. The lamplight turned her skin to a deep bronze, highlighted by the firelight, with the most wondrous peaks and valleys in her visage. He neck arched delicately down to her shoulders, tanned in the half-light, and from there she was wrapped in the deepest shade of blue imaginable. The firelight picked out purples and reds in the deep blue dress and the lamplight made the blue almost midnight black.
His orange shirt was burnished in the lamplight and the colour freshened by the addition of the amber firelight. His chin and cheeks were smooth as ice, attesting to the care he took in preparing for this all-important evening. There was a faint smell of musk and sandalwood mixed with wine as he moved his face by hers. The brown hair flecked with silver hung over his forehead like a curtain. He occasionally pushed it back impatiently, perhaps wishing to remove the floppy fringe altogether, but nervous of showing the real Him. If the shaggy hair were any longer she would not be able to read his eyes, or attempt to look into his soul. His face carried the years well, there were no lines and his eyes were clear.
And still her tears rolled, and still he silently followed each one, gently wiping them away. He knew she was hurting. He knew she was mistrustful because he was the one who had hurt her. He knew he might never regain that trust or see any love in her eyes for him.
The lamplight flickered in the silence as the fire gently guttered out in the grate. The firelight left her hair and the darkened room was reflected in their eyes.
‘Do you forgive me for leaving?’ finally he could stand it no more and asked the question that had been hanging on his Iips and preying on his mind all evening.
She looked worried and dropped her liquid brown eyes, her hair falling across her face. Her emotions were hidden as surely as if she had drawn a veil across her face.
He waited. There was all the time in the world for her answer. They had the rest of their lives to enjoy each other. If she was ready to take him back into her life and into her heart. He watched with agony as she shook her head slowly and when she looked up there was a light in her eyes that wasn’t from the lamplight. The tears were running freely now; small diamonds tracing down her cheeks, glistening in the lamplight. She looked past him, over his broad shoulder as if longingly wishing she were elsewhere. His heart sank as he read the messages her face and body was giving him.
She took his hand from her cheek and laid it in her lap, encapsulated in her two small slender hands. She absently stroked his hand with her thumb as she tried to find the words to break his heart.
His breath caught as she started to speak. She only said two words, but those two words were the most emotional words he had ever heard. They were the words he had hoped for and, in some small selfish part of him, dreaded. They were the two words that would change his life forever, and ensure this beautiful creature would remain by his side for an eternity. He clutched at her hand as she looked him in the eyes and spoke with a dignity that belied her mere twelve years of age;
(c) cq 2005