“It was a beautiful city. A wonderful city to be sure. Just walking around it, is magic in itself.
I never believed it but it’s true.” she said, more to fill the absence of conversation but
He remained silent, understanding her sentiment, without needing to reiterate the affirmative.
They both sat and drank their coffee indifferently, having spent a number of hours awaiting for the train.
He wanted to speak, say something – anything, but there was an internal censor that gagged his thoughts. He couldn’t. When he tried to form a statement he spluttered on his words, as his throat tightened. It was the emotion that did it to him. As if, the previous few years of coldness and numbness had accumulated into a tight, dry ball that prohibited the vocal egression of affection and love.
He knew this moment would come. He had been made a decision and couldn’t back out now, although he would have moved heaven and earth to make it so. He had been its author, and could not admit his mistake to his own sad self.
She wondered why he remained quiet. She felt guilty, yet snubbed. She held her anger towards him and buried it within her stomach, holding a completely natural, yet forced contentedness. It put her on edge, to know his feelings and understand them completely; but she queried his reactions in her mind. She didn’t want to say anything to avoid arguing – they still had another 12 hours on the train together and she didn’t want this to descend into a fight, it had been a lovely few days, and few months that she had known him. Things had been really good. And now, the understanding between them was gossamer fine, or like radiowaves that could only be snatched at, rather than atuned.
She was mentally tired too from speaking his language and looked forward to rest time with her family.
They boarded the train found their cabin and settled in. Conversation and silence shrouded the confined space intermittently, both feeling obliged to spending their final hours together, while wishing they could be in two places at once.
He had a drink and pulled himself back from the brink of emotion. He tried to wrestle control. Tiredness had caught up with him. He was a disposable lighter, and she a continental ice sheet. He could spend himself entirely trying to glean something of her soul, but would be destined to fail. But still he must go on – keep dignity. Always keep dignity. And so, he reined in feeling and regained some kind of composure, enabling civilities, now too late for searching questions, now too late for definitive answers.
They went for a drink before bed and chatted amiably as the train ambled through the darkened countryside. The mutual desire they both felt for one another was spent in finality and night shut both of its eyes one last time.
In the morning they woke together, 30 minutes from the border, and one hour until their demise. It was a darkness and then a harsh light, their bodies and their mouths and their minds ajusted. For some time it was good and final figures were mentally rounded up, but then the endgame. They knew it was coming, always coming. Like the bill being handed to vagrants feasting with a stolen credit card, they tried to enjoy, they tried to ignore. But, always the bastard came.
She silent in tiredness and apathy, not knowing where life had taken her in the last two years, but not here. Not now. Not after what she had already lost.
He rushed to the toilet occasionally, spending several minutes muting his sobs and tears and the shattering of his heart.
“My love, what is it?” she said incredulously.
He coughed and he coughed until the final words fell from his throat.
“I’m scared.” and only after he’d said them did he know they were the wrong ones.