On the aged stone wall, her left hand rested a half a centimeter from his right; close but not touching. Never touching. A tiny line extended out from the crease where her thumb ended and her hand began. The line broke into two. Each smaller line ended not far from the branch.
He noticed one of her red nails had a slight chip near the tip. Her ring finger. “My husband got a promotion,” she said, her voice struggling to sound happy. “We’re moving to California.”
His hand recoiled into itself like a dying spider. Dragging his fingers across the stone wall until it formed a fist. Soon swelled red with blood. “That’s great. Really great. Congrats to Jim.” His hand relaxed. The blood drained away. “When do you leave?”
“We fly out tomorrow,” she said, as her hand strayed to her ear, pulling a stray piece of hair back into place. “Movers will bring our things, later.”
“I’ll miss you.” He rubbed the heel of his hand against his itchy eye.
She turned to accuse him. “Will you?”
“Of course.” His hand finished rubbing to return to resting next to hers. “Are you happy?”
“California is great.”
“So they say. Do you have to go?”
She scoffed. “And do what, stay here? What would I do?”
“You have family. A brother. Your mum.”
“I can’t stay.” She placed her hand on top of his. “Take care of yourself.” She held it there for a moment. Seconds turned to a minute that turned into a million years, before she pressed firmly down on his hand with her own, stood, and walked away without another word.
He sat there for another million years watching the space where her hand used to lay.