And The Walk Home Was Not As Melodramatic As Secretly Hoped For

Naff story for my English folio. Swiped the title from a song again.

She stares at the horizon a lot lately. Distractedly, she swats at my questioning hand on her shoulder, her eyes never leaving that tinged, curving line that might as well be the edge of the world for all that she’s going to get near it. I can’t stand it any more: her dreamer’s eyes, her gentle heart, her careful touch. What’s wrong with me? She’s perfect.

She’s not mine any more.

She comes from a very liberal family, and fell in love with the arts at a young age. Encouraged to pursue the creative at every turn, she excelled - she paints, she writes, she sings, she plays a dozen instruments and some I haven’t even heard of. She keeps a dream journal and ebulliently informs me of every symbol (her dreams are probably the most structured part about her), and how it’s going to impact on her future; our future. I’m glad she thinks to include me, but it’s easy for her. She has no plans - she floats through life, while I trudge, sluggishly and with belligerence.

My family firmly believes in the academic merits of science. I was taught arithmetic at my mother’s knee, and I could spell “atom” before my own name. I grasp at snippets of knowledge like they’re bubbles of oxygen and I’m drowning in unenlightenment. Facts don’t hold her interest; she says they’re cold and impersonal - she acknowledges them and moves on; I obsess.

Knowing this, I admit it can be difficult to understand how we function as a couple. I yearned to understand her, and assumedly she found me aesthetically pleasing -- not in the purely superficial way, but in that she deemed me artistic enough for her attention, somehow -- so we became each other’s muse, and more. I offered unbiased critiques on her art, and found myself increasingly incorporated into it. She understood the physics of love better than I, and before I recognised what was happening, I had fallen victim to its gravity, and to her. Later I realised she had orchestrated the whole thing, with the finesse of a master conductor, and the grace of a thousand violins.

Neither of us is religious, and while that sets me free, she seems… discontent. She fidgets and shifts whenever the subject is broached, and though she swears her non-faith as ardently as any fundamentalist, I can tell that’s not the end of it. She wants there to be something more, more than quarks and electrons; more than the Big Bang - she longs for purpose. Her atheism cripples her as much as it vindicates her, and once I caught her guiltily absorbed in the Bible, a child trying to make her fantasies real.

So she stares across the ocean, trying to find some meaning, and I examine my own horizons -- clear-cut and more sharply in focus than hers will ever be. This is our last year of school, and the last summer of youth. She doesn’t want to leave, and neither do I -- this is our final farewell. I’m going somewhere she can’t follow; down to England to become a doctor, like my parents always wanted. I’ve done them proud, and I’m doing like I always planned, but she doesn’t plan; she doesn’t even draft. She tears her eyes away from the skyline, and her eyes overflow like every other part of her does -- unrestrained and effluent, she doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, she is her heart, and she’s breaking mine.

I want nothing more than to hold her, but I know it will just make the separation more painful, like ripping a plaster from sensitive skin because the wound needs fresh air to heal. Her tears mingle with the salt in the wind, and it stings, I know it does, but she’s fire as well, and she’s strong.

I can cope with this better than her - not because I care less, because I don’t - I’m just better suited to reality. For her, every disappointment is a crash back to earth, whereas I’ve always been grounded. I always knew this would happen, and I’ve been preparing myself for it, not that it has helped. I wish she would get angry with me, so I could get mad too and make it more bearable; and to her credit, she tries, she really does. But with every biting insult that bubbles from her gut, she bites her tongue, and hiccoughs pathetically, more upset with herself for being so pitiful that I, by comparison, appear to be a pillar of strength, when in actuality my foundations are weak, and I tremble like a rose in a blizzard.

She’s not mine any more, because she can’t be.

I’m not sure how long we stand there, but eventually all sound peters away, with only the splash of the tide to keep our misery company. Our parting is subdued, lachrymose, and I don’t look back, though I can feel her dreamer’s eyes boring holes in my skull, and I feel terrible for being the one to induce such tremendous focus in her, when she ought to be free to consider and glide so carelessly through life’s beauty. 

The End

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