Their hands clasped together in the center of the table or as close to center as two people with different arm lengths can be. He, being with the longer “wing span”, had to keep a bit of elbow slack to keep all things as equal and comfortable as possible in what was getting ready to be a tense situation. He had practiced this a few hundred times, but always in his head. What he was getting ready to say never flowed like water in these practice runs, and his anxiety grew as two hundred eighteen thoughts started to flood his brain. No matter how many scenarios he ran through in his head and how many variations he uncovered, his brain still went into overdrive with new thoughts and questions that he undoubtedly never thought of or wanted to consider.
His eyes met her as she talked without words waiting on the commencement of what was in her mind going to be a significant, yet ultimately benign speech. He has obviously given his choice of words deep thought and the look upon his face pierced her heart as she felt his deep sorrow flow through his hands into hers.
He opened his mouth to words that did not make themselves present in any previous scenario. Anxiety bred anxiety bred more anxiety until all the things he wanted to say were replaced by a rambling jumble of nouns, verbs, adjectives and pronouns that failed at all levels to make any cohesive sense.
He briefly stopped to collect his thoughts once more and pulled out a piece of paper. Never apologizing for what was an obviously confusing two-minute auditory mess because his anxiety was a part of his initial charm. He always tried, valiantly, and she knew this. He worked on improving everyday how to let her know that it was her that he wanted, every moment with every breath. He had still come up short to talk openly with his normal cadence. Every time he wanted to get out something emotional it was always rehearsed, written and cold. She had to accept that at least he was telling her these things no matter how it was delivered.
The time it took him between unfolding the piece of paper, grasping hands once more without the previous intensity and his mouth stopping to produce noise their hands and chests had gently slid themselves a part with out much effort. Neither one of them looked down to ensure nothing was still connecting their flesh. The bracelets on her left arm being forced to rotate around her wrist by her right hand betrayed her true emotions as she sat otherwise motionless and silent. Each knew that this was what would always have been, but neither wanted to admit to the other in fear that weakness would shine through the cracks in their armor.
He looked up into her eyes once more. Each set of eyes betraying themselves to the other. They pushed back their chairs, stood and walked out. No eye contact was made between them with me or them with anyone else as they passed onlookers pushing forth a wave of pure emotional distress.