Finally we had decided to go walking to the station. Not that we had a really good reason for this, if anything to stretch the farewell out a bit more. We used as an excuse to ourselves the fact that the station was quite close to home and that the suitcase was not that heavy. In fact it was me carrying it and not him, in spite of his gentle offer. But then, it was also me who was leaving him, and not the other way round. So even if only symbolically it was also me the one to take the load. I was just taking with me a few important things, the rest was stored in boxes with those big labels with my new address. He had written each and every one of them, as if, afraid of losing it, tried to learn them by heart. Well, I was sure he already knew it, he had always been good at that. In the last few days we had been specially attentive to each other, more than usual, so whenever we were not in the middle of yet another bitter discussion, we were draining the last moments together, the end clearly approaching in our minds. Now, as we walked in silence, I could feel his hand pressing mine now and then for no apparent reason. I guess he was also thinking over all the things that had happened to us in the last few months, maybe too many not to surrender to pain. I never thought things would turn out this way, but it was the best option nevertheless. Affection was not enough for me to go on, and I couldn’t borrow some of his love. No matter how big it could be, it was not enough to fill my needs. And then, it wasn’t enough either that he were deeply in love with me, besides he should have known how to love me, and come to this point, he had shown more often than not how inexperienced he was. Even now he couldn’t understand it all, but I was confident that he would see with different eyes all that he was unable to see now, blinded by present as he was.
I stopped before reaching the main entrance, ready to put an end to it there and then. There was no reason for him to enter with me. When I turned to him I could read in his blue eyes that life was going to be really hard for him once I left, but time heals everything. Not that pain is less intense later, but it rather vanishes faster. I knew this from my former experience, and now the time had come for him to learn this bitter lesson of life. I would rather have explained all of this to him, but I just looked into his eyes and caressed his cheek with my left hand. As I was touching him I felt myself faint and dropped the suitcase, which hit the floor with a numb noise as he hugged me. He was trying hard not to give away to tears and tremblings, quite as it happened that far away first time in Madrid, as if he were a big boy, beaten by emotion.
After an endless second, he stepped apart, just enough to say “Good bye, ______, please, take care.” I drew myself closer to kiss him and cherish him once more, and in an effort I replied “Yes, _____, you take care, too. Good bye.” In fact it would have been better to ask him to forget me as soon as possible, but best things are not always the most sensible ones. And he wouldn’t have understood, not then, and specially not if it was me the one trying to explain it...
I took my suitcase again and turned round, unable to see him cry, determined not to look back. However, just before going through the door I betrayed myself and turned round to see him leave. But all I could see was him standing, hoarding the seconds, each and every one to the last. I turned round once more, feeling the relief of closing another chapter in my life, maybe not the happiest nor the most satisfactory one, but I had been honest right to the end. Suddenly I realized that it was effectively the end, but it was not quite so, it was just a new beginning, and even more important, it was a new beginning for both.
I wrote this short story some time in Summer 1999, while I was doing my military service in Torrejón Air Base. It is the second part of "Farewell (he)" and I think I actually wrote the translated version shortly after writing the original one in Spanish.