The couple passed in front of her and she was compelled to watch, inviting herself to be a part of them as they walked. Their relaxed voices matched the casual pace of their footsteps and the caresses of fingertips over hands linked together. The intimate touches were barely noticeable but to someone whose hands ached to feel the same comfort. Her own hands held only a scrap of paper and the worn strap that kept her bag in place on her shoulder.
The sounds of the couple soon faded. They were likely tourists, she thought, but they had no doubt found their place in the city. Discussions over dinner in outdoor cafés, browsing through shops for trinkets, photographs of sunsets and ancient buildings. Memories absorbed by all that was around them, joined with every person whose footsteps had walked the city and become part of it.
The paper in her hand felt the weight of the thumb that worried over it. What kind of presence would she leave behind? She glanced at the quickly scribbled address. It’s true existence lay only ten feet in front of her. Like all of the other homes it was carved from the same warm stone as the street beneath her feet.
She sighed heavily and hoped for another couple, someone, anyone to draw her attention away from why she was there. Stari, Croatia. If what she had been told was true, why had he come here?
All that mattered was that he was here. Several weeks of traveling had weighed down her patience. Each time she’d caught up to him, he was gone. Always ten steps ahead of her. Would he have waited if he knew?
Every recently emptied hotel room he'd left behind in his travels pulled at her heart. Each a reminder of all she had with him and lost. She’d let it slip away from her. Her frustrations were too often in the way. They fell out in venomous words and let him believe she didn’t care as much as he’d hoped for.
She never let herself believe he meant everything he said, every promise.
But he had.
She looked up at the building once more and pressed the paper into her pocket as she finally neared the door. Her heart raced with hope. He would see it, feel it. He would know how much regret for the past and hope for the future was seated in her heart. She still loved him, needed him. There wouldn’t be a day that would go by that she wouldn’t tell him so.