They were sitting in a park. The silence around them was deafening. And yet, the two of them seemed very content to just sit next to each other in complete silence of the cold night.
Isabelle stared at Archer without truly registering his presence; her mind was buried in memories long forgotten by others. Archer was her best friend, the only one she had ever had for as long as she could remember. He was the one person that understood her better than she understood herself. She had spent countless hours of her life with him. But soon, Archer would be off to war, and she would have to be without him. Even worse, this could be the last time she would ever see him.
“Do you have to go? Can’t you pretend that you didn’t get called in?” she asked softly with tears in her eyes. Archer didn’t move; he just sat with his head in his hands.
Isabelle sighed, holding back her tears. She wanted to tell him how much she didn’t want him to go, how much she would miss him while he would be gone. Instead, she reached for his hand. They didn’t want to say goodbye, so they just sat in the silence, alone with their thoughts and yet, not alone at all because they had each other.
The thought of him leaving made her even colder than she already was; she shivered. Instantly, Archer’s coat was around her shoulders. She glanced sideways at him, but before their eyes met, she looked away; she didn’t want him to see her cry.
Isabelle looked out into the darkness. Somewhere out there in front of her, under the hill, was an old amphitheater where they had spent most of their childhood. It was barely visible to her in the dark, and yet, in her mind, she could see a clear picture of all the happy days that they had spent there together.
“Do you remember when you were teaching me how to dance down there?” Archer asked with melancholy in his voice. “I couldn’t get any of the steps because I had two left feet.” Isabelle nodded.
“It didn’t feel like that to me. I was happy to be dancing with you,” she said, turning to him with a fond smile.
“There was a time when I wished that the clock would stop so that I could dance with you forever,” he said. “I never liked it when we had to stop dancing and go back to our everyday lives. I couldn’t wait for the time when we would meet again so that I could be with you.”
Isabelle brushed a stray strand of night-black hair behind her ear, contemplating his words.
“Will you dance with me one last time?” he asked, standing up and offering her his hand.
Isabelle looked up at him in surprise. She wasn’t sure how to respond. She was torn. Part of her wanted to be held by Archer and dance with him forever and ever. On the other hand, she didn’t know how she would feel to be in his arms again, just for this moment, only to lose him later. She couldn’t hold back the painful thought that this time, when he let go of her, it might be forever.
Archer took her hand and led her down into the amphitheater. He pulled her into closed hold, and they slowly started to dance. Suddenly, they stopped and just stood there, two people in the endless black night.
“I love you,” Archer whispered into her ear. Isabelle smiled.
“I love you, too.”