This Is How They Say Goodbye


She inhales through the nose and exhales out through the mouth in the seat by the window in the middle of the plane. Taking off is the worst. The anticipation on the runway. Ascending into the clouds at fast speed.

You’re scared? He studies her face.

Well, I just dont like this part of flying. Its one of those moments where anything could happen. Like, what if something goes wrong? 

Thats life. Life is unpredictable.

He covers her hand with his seconds before the plane is supposed to flee the pavement. Now, suspended in the air, she gazes at the white in the sky. She peers back at him, but he’s officially asleep. Her mind wanders and wanders every night, yet, he can close his eyes and dream instantly.

She fixates on their hands. Soaring above land and ocean, their fingers are intertwined for the first time. It felt right. It felt like home.

He sips the wine at the cafe very carefully. He knows wine. She knows that she likes red more than white but enjoys listening to his detailed descriptions of the various nuances anyway.They watch people pass them by on the corner. They understand people. Even at dusk, people are still out, strolling through these Parisian streets with purpose. Some walk aimlessly. Sometimes, frivolous walking is better. Your eyes are a bit more open. You learn a bit more about where you are. Your mind expands when it’s not focused on a specific destination. On a finality.

They spend the next four days roaming around this European city, exploring the ins and outs, laughing at their botched French when ordering at restaurants, and talking until their throats turn dry.

They’re friends who could have been something else, if timing aligned in their favor. And so now, here in this foreign place, they say it all. They talk in circles, savoring each thought that passes between them. The dialogue is naked and bare. Their words and actions are transparent. And necessary.

On their last night, they sit beside the river, and he runs his fingers through her hair. She muses how the humidity is destroying it, but he says he doesn’t care. He lightly touches her chin and kisses her.

It’s their way of saying goodbye to what cannot be attained.