The plants on the balcony danced to the sound of the rain. The skies had opened without warning, drenching their courtyard, drowning all plans.
And all this while, a silence hung between them. Undisturbed and dense, like the unseen depths of a clouded lake. It was excitable though, this silence. New, unheard but radiant still, like all things her. Like love.
Or its fleeting misnomer, he mused.
Wasn’t that why he adored all things that cannot last? A hot cup of chai under the shade of a tree. A well-told story, or melodious song on a rainy evening. Quiet conversations with your best friend… All things as gentle as a cherry blossom in bloom and just as transient. Just as important.
She let out a sigh, set down the empty mug on the table. “I’m leaving,” she said at last and he smiled to himself. He’d always been able to wait her out.
“I know.” Had known for months.
“My classes start in two weeks.”
“I know,” he said again.
That silence rose between them again. But unlike the quiet beating of a hummingbird’s heart, it was neither beautiful, not miraculous. It reeked of fear now. Sang of caution where once had been freedom. Spoke of trepidation that had replaced comfort. It was hurtful and gloomy and it haunted him.
And people believed words hurt, he thought when she rose to her feet.
“Are you going to stop me?” she asked.
“You don’t want me to.” Without looking, he knew her brow withered, eyes squinted.
Her sigh was mostly a snort now and it warmed his heart. “I don’t know if I love or hate that you know me so well.” But she got down to her knees to touch her lips to his cheek. “Thank you.”
“I haven’t done anything to help you,” he reminded her.
“You haven’t done anything to hinder me, either.”
He shrugged. “Sometimes to love is to stand aside. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”
She smiled that smile, the one he’d thought reserved for him, them. “I hope you find someone you can be silent with.”
The rain continued to fall as she quietly walked out of his life. He reached for his chai and sipped the mist that rose in his eyes.