I was walking her to the train station late one Sunday evening. It was the middle of winter, yet I had not really registered the cold. She, on the other hand, claimed that she was utterly freezing. I had lent her one of my overcoats for the ten minute stroll. This was apparently not enough to dull the sting of a biting wind. She clung to my right hand as I put my left hand around her shoulders, holding her tight.
I wanted her to stay with me overnight. That is what I so desperately desired, but it could never be the case. Our relationship was secret from everyone. It had to be that way. Her parents would never approve of her seeing someone who wasn’t from her own cultural background. I was told that they had eyes and ears everywhere, ready to pounce on any perceived transgression from the communities tribal law. Because of this our relationship was chased by the shadows of a temporality that we didn’t really want to acknowledge.
As we walked through the night we chatted about our imaginary future. She had deluded herself into actually believing we could find a way through the disapproval and secrecy. I, however, was merely sad. I longed for the same future but knew in my heart that our time together was temporary. In time I would learn to suppress these feelings and would eventually join her in a shared optimism that maybe we could have an honest relationship. We created this fictional world in our minds because we were in love, and with love comes that kind of hope that refuses to entertain thoughts of its own demise. We both said that we wanted to get married.
We arrived at the station just as her train was pulling out. This meant a fifteen minute wait. We sat down and I noticed her teeth starting to chatter. I broke out into brief laughter. She got upset and scolded me for making fun of her pain. I hugged her and draw her close to me whilst my mind cursed the bittersweet reality that I had found someone I loved but could not fully have. And so we sat in silence.
Just before the train arrived she tilted her head upwards and met my gaze. Her eyes were deep and pleading. ‘Do you think we will make it?’ she asked. It was a question I had heard countless times before. So I did what lovers do when they want to protect the feelings of their beloved: I lied. ‘Yes sweetheart. We will find a way. We will find a way…’