It was her.
He caught that face being absorbed in a copy of Madame Bovary at the opposite side of the shelf. He remembered it instantly, for it was this face that had caused him lying sleepless in bed every night for the past few years.
Yes, it was her.
That eagerness he liked in her eyes. That frowning eyebrows he liked when she read. That curly long dark-brown hair he used to touch. That bright face he never got bored staring at for hours.
It was absolutely her.
She lowered the book from her face and closed it. Her eyes were staring absent-mindedly at the cover. He knew she was still in that provincial northern France with Emma Bovary, trying to help her solve her love affairs.
He started to walk slowly, eyes still focusing on her. Once steadied himself next to the shelf behind her, he inhaled deeply and whispered,
“Hi young lady…”, addressing her the same way he used to. And he knew no one else in her life called her this way. She turned suddenly to him. He saw her lips parted and her eyes glowing brightly with mixed feelings. He hoped he did not fool himself to believe that more than half of those mixed feelings were excitement and happiness that one would feel when they eventually met someone they had been waiting for a very long time.
“Oh, doctor Fuchs!”, she exclaimed.
“Oh, doctor Fuchs, doctor Fuchs! Oh doctor Fuchs!”, she repeated in a more joyful tone and danced around him.
He could not help smiling at her and her ‘self’ – the essence that made him adore her profoundly. He could not think of anything else to say and his mind pushed him very hard to say something before that silence fell, so that guilt for her he never knew it had been there slipped out,
“How did you judge me when I stopped writing to you?”
And again, like every night that had passed, he realised that it was he, himself, who let her go.
She stopped dancing and immediately put on a grievous face. She looked down to the floor and said,
“I didn’t judge you.”
Then silence fell for seconds, but that long enough for him to hold his breath. She looked back to his face and stared into his eyes as if she tried to communicate something she thought he would never understand.
“But I have missed you… quite a lot.”, uttered her, unsurely.
The whole world seemed to stop moving in a sudden. He was confirmed finally that he had not been lying to himself to think that she also liked him. But he still could not believe she said it to his ears – in her own voice not letters, for the first time. The first time that half an hour ago was an impossibility… that for years it was only his imagination.
When the world was moving again, he found her in his arms. She was hugging him very tightly. Tears cover her face, she turned up to him and said,
“I thought we would never meet again.”
my young lady Lizzy,
My apologies for this late reply. And my great apologies for stop writing without reasons.
Please believe me that I never wanted to let you go. I never meant to let you go. You have been on my mind every night when I was lying in bed for all these years. I was wondering where you were and whether you were happy. Not knowing how you were had been killing me –
Suggested soundtrack: Verses by Ólafur Arnalds, Alice Sara Ott