She told me that we would have plenty of time. Time to travel, build our careers, get married, have kids; if that was what we chose to do. She laughed when I told her that I loved her, when I held her hand on that deserted beach and looked deep into her eyes, those beautiful, mesmerising eyes reflecting the oranges and reds of another fiery sunset.
‘Why so serious?’ she asked.
She ran away from me then, barefoot and laughing, diving into the waves with abandon. I followed, always I followed.
My heart aches when I think back to those days, those carefree days before our savings were spent and we were forced to return to the greyness of London. She swapped her rainbow sarongs for anonymous, sharp suits and dived into the financial waves of a burgeoning economy. We would glance at the light polluted sunsets from the twenty-third floor of a monolith to corporate greed. She smiled when I told her I loved her, holding her hand as we drifted into another exhausted sleep.
‘I know’, she murmured.
It was a marriage of convenience. They would only pay for a spouse to join her on those long stints abroad, not a partner. I made a fuss, told her that I needed to be with her more than I needed to further my own career. I worried about who would ensure she got home after the benders she claimed kept her sane. She frowned when I told her that I would always be there for her, whatever she chose to do.
‘You may not have that option’, she replied.
We would have made such beautiful children but it was not to be. The disease she picked up caused too much damage. Her redundancy cheque cleared the debts but we knew that we could no longer manage the payments on our neglected home. I told her that I would look after her, that we could make a fresh start.
In silence she looked away.
The monotony was more than she could bear. I suggested she go out on her own but we both knew such a move would require capital we could not raise, contacts whose trust we had lost along the way. We were cogs now, frustrated and alone.
She told me that we would have plenty of time and perhaps we did. Why did we squander those precious days? If she had a distant dream then she never shared it with me. Looking back, she never shared.
I asked her, ‘What time is it now?’
‘Time for you to leave’, she sighed.
And I did.