I was holding her hand tightly.
Not because I was afraid. I had my share of flights, traveling on and off between Europe and Asia for the past 15 years. No, it was much more personal.
We’d been dating at the beginning of the year, but it all ended after a few months. I’m responsible for it, fully. I know. I’m not gonna go into details, but my addiction to new experiences and my irrational aversion to wasting my time didn’t help. Well, all in all, I fucked up.
Still, I cared about her, and she cared about me, and even if she’s the one who decided to close the curtains on our story, I still had to make the ending right.
And so we were flying to Ireland.
We met there on a rainy day a year and a half ago. It was foggy too. Right for the circumstances, I’m thinking, in retrospective.
My divorce had been finalized a few weeks before, and that trip was my reward. Hers was a month after mine, but she traveled at the same time. I was hiking by myself and stopped by a cliff. She was hiking by herself, and stopped by my cliff.
“Hi” I said, beaming my most natural smile in her direction. It’s easy to be natural when you don’t care about the end result.
“Hi” she said, with a smile of her own concoction.
“My name’s Guill. I’m from France.” “Hi.” she said, pausing for a long moment. “I’m Pearl. I’m from the other side of this world.”
We sat down, and talked for hours.
We went back to Dublin for the night. It was convenient that we were both into drinking because it didn’t seem there was much else to do there.
We entered into a pub, and she went for the bathroom.
I grabbed a stool and sat down at the bar. The cold wood was still wet from the condensation of the last beer that died here. The top of the counter looked like maple hardwood and... who the fuck am I kidding, I have no idea what fucking wood it was. I was just thirsty and, let’s be honest, horny.
My little Pearl came out of the bathroom, a ray of light piercing her unkept hair. The barman brought me a Guinness without me asking for anything. The night started well...
I don’t want to bore you with the details, and we’re almost landing, but by the end of the night it was clear that me and her were both mature, emotionally healthy, and interested individuals. She stood up lightly from her stool, and, staring right into my eyes, kissed my lips. Then, leaning to my right ear she said “don’t you ever dare to leave me”.
But she did.
We’re just out of the airport now. I rented a car online, I want things to go smooth. We don’t have luggage. I’m not planning for us to stay for a long time, I just want to finish this story the right way, where it started.
We drive silently towards the cliffs. She doesn’t say much, me neither. The weather hasn’t changed since last year, grey and gloomy, but strangely reassuring, for both of us. She gazes through the window, I’m peering at her legs. She’s wearing one of those shorts that let her long legs escape. She’s beautiful. I want to put a hand on those, but I know I’m not here for that. I cannot let my feelings take over. Feelings are fleeting, reason not so much. At least not so easily...
A car is longing the cliff, and stops. 2 people are getting off, a girl and a boy. They sit together at the edge, next to each other.
Then the boy stands up, and starts talking.
“I love you.” he says. He is not looking at her but straight away, facing the sea.
“I know I hurt you, and I am deeply sorry about that.”
She says nothing. She’s listening, but her eyes are turning red.
“I love you, but you were right. I will hurt you again. It is not that I want to, but it will be a consequence of my actions, of the way I live my life. This is not against you, this is not about you. This is totally about me, and you can call me selfish, but it is exactly the opposite. I have to live my life according to my terms first, else, I will not be able to treat others well, to treat you well. If I were selfish I wouldn’t care about you, I wouldn’t care about hurting you. I would just take what I need. But I don’t. This is how much I care about you. How much I respect, and admire you.”
There’s some mist in the boy’s eyes too now.
He didn’t notice, but the girl stood up and is now behind him. He turns his head to the right, and is a little surprised when he doesn’t see her. But he immediately, without thinking, turn a bit more, and here she is. She is crying, but she is smiling too. She’s extending her arms towards him. A smile is taking shape on his face.
Her hands are reaching for his chest. She always liked it, the way his chest is drawn. She is now touching it, and, in spite of the rain and the wind, he feels warm inside.
He’s extending his arms and wants to surround her with them to protect her. This is the moment she chooses for the push. A quick, straight, clean, rational push. Their eyes are locked into one another. He doesn’t fight, maybe by disbelief, or maybe the contrary.
The last thing he sees is a cloud sky, and her hair, dancing with the wind.
A flock of birds is circling on top of them.