It's on a subway - the common transportation method of those in the city, adorned with crying children and drunken men - that she sits down beside him, as if she doesn't even see him at all. As if he is merely a tiny obstacle in her travel, or yet another dozing teenager in the back of the train. She doesn't glance his way. She doesn't smile at him, or laugh at him, or kiss him like she missed him as much as he missed her. She just sits there, one ankle delicately crossed over the other, her blonde hair tucked behind her ears. Her eyes are dropped to the floor.
He cannot even manage to say a thing. There are so many things he could say, angry and bitter words that would resonate in the loud hum of the subway, but when he opens his mouth just a bit and moistens his lips, he can't spit them out. She probably wouldn't even hear him if he did.
His hand is inches from hers. If he twitches his fingers just enough, brushes his knuckles insistently upon hers, she'd turn her head and acknowledge him. If he laced his fingers tightly through hers and refused to let go, she'd understand what he couldn't say.
If he whispers her name, she might just whisper his. She might just pretend she didn't hear him, or actually not hear him at all, or she'd kiss his cheek and smile at him. She might say, "I've missed you, Sid."
But he can't move his fingers - they're trapped in a block of ice - and he can't say a word - his mouth is clamped tight.
His fingers tremble, desperate to break free and hold hers. The block of ice begins to melt and his heart thumps in the cacophonous silence, the world all around him squeezing and squeezing, enveloping him until there is nothing but her and him. She's still not moving and she's still quiet and still as a statue, as cold and thin as mist. Her fingers drum on the space beside her. Her shoulders are hunched to her ears.
The block of ice shatters into a million tiny pieces, broken shards of glass that pierce his skin with prickling heat. His palm burns with want and need and desperation and before he can stop himself, his fingers wander to hers and they beg her not to leave.
The subway comes to a screeching halt at the station.
Her head turns and she sees him. She acknowledges him. Fear is in her eyes, fear and courage and passion and indifference, all at once studying him as if it's been years since she saw him. Years since he told her he loved her, and he threaded through her blonde hair and she pressed her fingertips into his skin.
"Are you here to stay forever, Sid?"
He nods. The subway doors close and the new passengers settle in their seats.
Her fingers twitch and lace through his. She closes her eyes and so does he. He remembers a trampoline and a harbor, an apple tossed from hand to hand, and a smiley face made out of sugar packets. He holds her hand tighter and breathes evenly. She remembers vodka and pills. She remembers hatred and slugs and Scotland. She remembers a bench overlooking Bristol and a letter written in scrawled graphite.
She digs her nails into his palm. "I'll love you forever."
"Is that much of a problem now?"
She shakes her head. "No," she promises. Behind her eyes, the bitterness and jealousy disappears. She sees making love and him in an apron and holding hands in the frigid night. "Not a problem at all."
The subway continues its endless journey.