I watch her approach and stand up immediately, even though I know she hasn’t noticed me yet. I watch her meander her way past children playing on the field, laughing as she clumsily kicks a ball that made its way to her. I can’t help but smile.
Big baby.
She finally sees me and waves in excitement, almost stumbling as she runs with her black shoes on uneven grass.
“Hey!” She says, laughing and falling into the wooden seat, trying to catch her breath.
“Still as unfit as ever eh?” I taunt, chuckling as she sticks out her tongue at me in petulance.
“Sit down jo meanie!” She says as she pats the wooden bench, smiling. I sit back down, maintaining a little distance between us. It is only appropriate. She busies herself with unclipping her grey scarf and I take the time to admire her profile. Her long ‘British’ nose as I used to call it, dark pink lips pursed in concentration as she unveils her lovely black hair tied roughly into a bun. Memories of our make-out sessions come unbidden and her murmuring brings me back to the present.
“Weather’s too hot for this thing you know!”
I smile as she sighs in satisfaction, draping the scarf on the bench.
She smiles at me.
“Long time no see! You look great!”
It hasn’t been that long; just over 5 months.
“You too. Beautiful as ever.”
She laughs out loud in her usual asinine fashion. We always joked about how her donkey laugh would earn her a place in a barn. I smile.
“How are you? Work? How’s Ada!”
Work’s good. Got a promotion. My sister’s great. Still asks after you. I watch her brown eyes dance in interest at all I have to say. She had always been a good listener.

“So, how are you doing yourself?” I steer the conversation back to her. She was a talker so I let her ramble on.
I tune her out and watch her body language. I try comparing the new her to the old girl I fell in love with, time ago. Had there been any changes or is five months still too short a time?
Asides the attire and the lack of any trace of make up, nope…not really.
“Are you happy?” I suddenly blurt out, interrupting her lurid description of a particularly nasty boil she had on her behind .
“Of course I am Nino! What kind of question is that!”
She shifts her voluminous grey skirt, pretending to be upset but I can see her mischievous smile playing slowly across her lips.
Without any thoughts or warning, I bridge the gap between us, cup her face in my palms and drop a hard kiss on her lips.
This time, she’s really upset. She pushes at my chest slightly, taking her face away.
“You shouldn’t have done that you know. And we are in public as well!”
I should feel chastised but I don’t. I’m glad I kissed her. I apologise anyway and after a few minutes of cajoling and teasing, the frown lines that marred her smooth honey brown forehead disappears and she punches me playfully.
“Nonsense boy!”

Sins forgiven, we fill up the silence with banalities. She doesn’t have access to the television or internet so I regale her with the latest updates. I notice she hasn’t brought back the distance between us on the bench. I am glad. We are soon lulled into a comfortable silence. I stare out at two young children skipping. I can feel her eyes on me. I wonder what she sees. In what light does she view me now? Nino, the ex-lover or Nino, the friend.

She asks me a question and I turn to her. She’s staring down at her ugly black shoes, kicking at a clump of grass.
How are you?
How does she think I am? Broken, battered and sore from the heart ache. Of course I don’t tell her this.
I shrug, smiling a little. She looks up and smiles back, her beauty hits me anew. Her lopsided smile.
I reach forward and she instinctively draws back. Undeterred, I lean in and drop a kiss on her gorgeous full lips; a soft one this time. She hardens them but I continue probing slowly until she yields and softens up. She’s finally kissing me back. She sucks a little on my lower lip, sighing as I gently caress her upper lip with my tongue. She runs her fingers across my neck,eliciting a little groan from me.
That snaps her back to the present.
She jumps up in embarrassment.
“I’m sorry! Um I must be going now Nino. Mass.”
Without waiting for a reply, she beats a hasty retreat.
“Ada!” I jump up and shout.
She turns reluctantly.
“Your wimple” I say with a sad smile as I watch the comical expression of surprise and dismay on her face as she rushes back and collects it from me.
“Bye” she whispered as she turns her back and walks away.
“Bye” I mouth to myself.

I watch her meander her way past the soccer kids again, her iron cross dangling on her slightly creased white shirt, long skirt playing peek-a-boo with her ankles. I feel the little box poke my thigh and without breaking contact with her retreating back, I bring it out. My hands caress the familiar velvety box I bought five months ago.
I was going to propose that night. The night she told me she’d decided to join the convent; the night she left our little love nest without a backwards glance. For how long had she planned it? Why had I been blind?
I knew she had her personal demons and I was sure proposing to her was going to get her to open up to me, finally. I so wanted to offer her the peace she craved. Fate had other ideas though. I had my girlfriend snatched by God. ‘Who can battle with the Lord’ I ask whimsically in my head.
My fingers run expertly around the curved edges of my little companion. I carried my box everywhere with me since that night. A symbol of our love? Perhaps a symbol of love unrequited or just a stupid buoy for a drowning man.

It had taken a lot of letters to her Mother Superior, to bring her to the park today. Four months worth of correspondence. I wonder why she decided to finally see me today. I won’t be so conceited to think that she misses me even though I miss her terribly. The house has been too silent without her.

I watch her almost stumble and laugh out loud despite myself.
Big baby.
Crazy nun.
Just how were they coping with her?
She finally disappears and I sigh.
I’m not too sad though.
She isn’t happy; despite her outward bubbly character. She never was a good liar.
She said she was happy but her eyes begs to differ. They didn’t do their usual dance of excitement. They went still.
I smile a little, pocketing my little black, velvety, box friend.
There still might be hope.
I just have to be patient.
A ball sails towards me and I skillfully head it back to the rambunctious boys.
“You children better watch how you kick this thing!”

—————
Thank you Joey Parker for the inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚ ({})

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