As if it were by magic, he really saw her for the first time – the hazel eyes that perfectly lit up the pale face and deep, dark brown hair; those small hands, the one that held her wedding ring; then he noticed her mouth and how soft it looked, even in the cold night.
“You’re beautiful” was all he could muster in the back of his head, feeling that it just wouldn’t be appropriate saying it out loud. He wanted to yell it to her though, shake her and kiss her, tell her again and again how he really felt. Of the decade that they had been together, he rarely gave compliments – no one needs to be complimented, how vain and cliche, he thought. But those words that he wanted to say were genuine, and he felt in all his heart that he could love no other…
But it was too late. She was already gone. Her right hand gently tugged the small ring off from her left ring finger. “The finalizing of a divorce,” she said as she handed him the wedding ring. A small smile came across the pale face.
It looked plain in the palm of his hand. “Right,” he nodded off. Handing it back to her, he insisted, “Do what you want with it, really. It’s just a piece of scrap now.”
She shrugged, taking the ring back and putting it in her coat pocket. Her hands stayed in the pockets and she huddled a little, giving off the feeling that it was time to be going.
The moment of silence that passed between them wasn’t long, but it was deep. For that moment, they weren’t surrounded by snow and ice, and their cars were miles away. It felt like it was only them in that parking lot, and they were having their goodbye’s. No children to keep them seeing each other, no legal obligations requiring any money or frustrating and awkward court appearances. It was a final goodbye.
“Take care, Lynn.”
They both got in their cars and drove away to their separate houses and their separate lives. Both had the same question on their mind for their long, individual car ride back: Could I have done something different?