There it was. Third window from the left, five floors up. The white lace curtains still hung down from the silver rod like a veil concealing the treasure behind it.
He could still see Larisa standing there that day eight years ago. He’d turned back one last time and cast a glance up toward her window. She stood, curtains parted, looking down at him with a look that sent shards of longing and remorse through his heart. Yet he’d gotten in his car and driven away.
That was the last time he saw her.
Eight years later, here he stood. The prosthetic leg was a visible vestige of the war; the wounds inside were far from healed.
He felt like half a man anymore, like damaged goods.
Would Larisa take him back? Would she want anything to do with him? Would she slam the door in his face? Look at him in pity—or revulsion? He didn’t know which would be worse.
What’s more, did she even live here anymore? Eight years was a long time.
What if she was seeing someone? What if she was married with kids?
He shouldn’t have come. He couldn’t just swoop back into her life now and burden her with the mass of troubled baggage that he’d become.
He couldn’t do it.
And he didn’t have the guts to face her. Clinging to the memory of her would be better than being turned away or knowing she belonged to another man.
He heaved a heavy sigh and turned to go.
Larisa’s voice cut through the noise of the city and Dan spun around.
There she was, across the street, beautiful as ever.
She dashed in front of a cab and the driver’s angry horn blared after her.
Dan started forward and met her at the curb.
She stared up into his warm, green eyes, tears brimming in her own. A smile illuminated her face as laughter and tears mingled together with his. She threw her arms around his neck and he clung to her like a lifeline.
Burying his face in her soft, brown hair, he inhaled deeply and let the world fall away.
© Whitney L. Schwartz
Written for Thursday 360