She watched the plane as it took off, trying her best to hold back the tears that flowed. She had been preparing for this day for the past few months. She remembered how he broke the news to her: the dinner; the wine; the soft lighting.
She remembered, too, how hurt he looked. She had before wondered about the purpose of their meeting; how subdued he was when he announced his promotion; and the pause — too long for her liking — after that announcement and his next few words. He told her he was to leave for Dubai within the next few months, but that the exact date of his departure was uncertain until the week before.
It was just last week she received the news from him, that he was scheduled to fly today. He called her and asked her out for dinner, but she declined. She gave an excuse of work, but they both knew that the real reason was that his departure would hurt her too much, and the less she knew and understood the better it would be.
When today rolled around, she had half the mind to ignore his incessant calls, begging her to show up at the airport for a final goodbye. It was just for a couple of years, he said, and he would be back before she even realised it.
She finally answered her phone, and agreed to meet him once more. When they met, they acted like he was going for a medical checkup after an abnormal ECG scan — his expression said, “it’s nothing serious,” while hers said, “you’re going to possibly die.”
Before he went in the gates, he looked at her and saw how sad she looked. “Don’t cry,” he said to her, making her tears flow even faster. She remained silent and gave his hand a squeeze.
As the plane went out of sight, she turned around to head back home. To her surprise, there he stood, luggage in tow.
Through his tears he smiled at her and said, “when I told you I was leaving you behind, I forgot to tell you that behind was where I was going to be.”