Unwatched, I can watch you in peace, let my face show all the things it must otherwise hide. My eyes seek you out in the near dark; and when they find you they rest, as though looking upon your face is all they were made to do. Your neck is taut, your back straight as you take in the scene of the lovers’ death. I can almost feel the warm breath from your parted lips. You don’t see me watching – so great is your concentration. If you saw me you would smile, give a merry wave to the one you now call friend. And I would reset my face and smile back. A friendly smile for the one I should be with.
If I could go back it would be different. I would pick risk over security, happiness over duty. You over them. But the sands of time have poured against me, leaving behind this ache, now familiar but no less painful after all these years.
I feel my wife’s eyes on me, and I turn and give what should look like a smile. She makes her face mirror mine.
‘Marvelous play,’ I say.
‘But sad,’ she says. She holds my gaze for a long time. ‘Because everyone could see that it would never work. Everyone except them.’