I had left to wander the world, as I had always said that I would. Each footstep over tranquil water, sliding beneath beautiful old bridges reminded me of you. Every moment with you was peace, you held me up and kept me safe.

For a while, I had hidden myself, tucked into my hardened shell, carrying the weight of my world. My world and the heaviest heart. I lazed on tropical beaches, basking in soothing sunlight and all I could feel was you by my side.

As I threw myself off a cliff, parachuting into the steamy, aromatic jungle, I saw your wide eyes filling with tears. It ripped the air from my lungs. In the silence over the leafy stillness, I can still hear your voice, it’s sad quietude, asking me to wait for you. But to do so would have destroyed us both. Time will heal it all.

I gave up the exotic, the strange, for places steeped in history. I climbed mountains to temples, prayed, but what I always prayed for was you. This was not what I intended.

Glumly, I reached Venice. I had planned to drink in the romance, but the buildings were dank, lacklustre, needing tenderness and care. Absorbed, I looked at the carnival masks, but their colours had leeched of brilliance.

I hiked to the Fountain di Trevi, to marvel in its brilliance. From this distance, there appeared a supplicant at its foot. Covered in a summer dress, their hair even looked like yours, twisting in a breeze.

You looked up, smiled and the sunshine came out.

You were here.

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