I Wonder Why?

It felt like spring time

On this February morning.

In the courtyard,

Birds were singing your praise.

I'm still recalling things you said

To make me feel alright;

I carried them with me today…

The wind had lost some of its Winter chill, and it was now just pleasantly refreshing as it brushed against her skin. She was leaning back against one of the old sandstone pillars in the courtyard, folders of notes grasped under one arm, the other reaching up to brush away the strands of hair blown across her face. It was a busy morning and many people walked the criss-crossing paths of the courtyard on their way to wherever they were going, but she paid them no heed. She was trying very hard to look like she wasn't searching for him, though her eyes were constantly moving. With an unpleasant jolt of nervousness, she wondered if she would even be able to recognise his face after what seemed like so long, but was really only a few months.

In the corner of the courtyard the bare grey branches of the jacaranda tree were just beginning to sprout their first pale green buds. A bird perched on one of the upper branches was chirping away, sounding glad to see the sun. In an attempt to quiet her anxiety, she let her mind drift back to the thought of his words and his voice. Sometimes he seemed so distracted, removed from her, and yet occasionally his voice would take on an unexpected depth of warmth and sincerity. It always took her by surprise and it never failed to make her feel weak at the knees. Just the thought of it made the courtyard and everything in it fade into the background.

And so it happened that, when he walked up behind her and placed his hand upon her shoulder, it took her by surprise.

She was immediately, illogically, terrified. As soon as she turned around and met his eyes, she wondered if he couldn't hear the thud-thud of her heart pounding against her rib cage, like some wild animal fighting tooth and nail to escape. Just as she was beginning to fear these first few seconds of awkwardness would linger over them permanently, he smiled, a genuine smile. And slowly, over the pounding of the blood in her veins, she managed to smile back.

As I lay me down to sleep,

This I pray;

That you will hold me dear.

Though I'm far away,

I'll whisper your name into the sky,

And I will wake up happy.

I wonder why?

They had talked. Caught up on the few months of each other's lives that they had missed. Casual chit-chat. That's all it is, she had to keep reminding herself. But he was there, right in front of her. His presence filled an empty space in her, the space that was usually reserved for I wish and I miss you's. And she knew, just as she always did, that soon he would be gone again. And she knew, as usual, that she could live without him there. She wished she didn't have to.

Now as she lay in the darkness of her silent bedroom, drifting off and pleasantly warm under the covers, scenes from their meeting today were flowing across the backs of her eyelids like rain; a word, a touch, a moment. The kind of things that would mean nothing to an observer, but inexplicably are the world to her. Carefully she stored them away in that section of her memory where she kept their shared past. She wondered if her pillow was getting sick of the sound of his name, but she knew her dreams would be full of contentment tonight.

I feel so high,

Though I am not above the sorrow.

Heavy hearted,

Till you call my name;

And it sounds like church bells,

Or the whistle of a train

On a summer evening.

I'll run to meet you, barefoot,

Barely breathing…

She couldn't see him anywhere on the platform. Her anticipation deflated slightly, as she battled her overwhelming sense of disappointment. He hadn't come. It had been a long trip, and the air was hot and muggy inside her carriage. As she hefted her bag over one shoulder and moved to stand in front of the train doors, she could feel her light wrap-around skirt sticking to her legs.

The doors opened, and she stepped out into the warm summer twilight. The evening star hung in the dusky blue sky, and the chirping of cicadas was carried to her on the breeze that cooled her skin. Despite herself, she was still searching for his face among the bustle of the now crowded station. Friends and family were calling out greetings, embracing, taking luggage from the tired and over-burdened travellers. She stood alone with her bags in a pile at her feet. He hadn't come.

When she heard his voice calling her name, she almost thought that she'd imagined it at first. Then she turned, and saw him waving. He held his arms out to her, and for a second she wondered if time had frozen. Everything around her seemed to stop moving completely. Her breath caught in her throat.

And then she was running, her bare feet pattering on the warm concrete, her luggage abandoned, unable to keep the smile off her face. He staggered back a few steps as he caught her up in his arms, laughing at their shared enthusiasm. He lifted her feet from the ground and swung her around in the air, then set her down again gently and tightened his arms around her for a proper welcome hug, and they clung together for a few moments.

Suddenly her fear and her disappointment seemed silly. He was here, waiting for her, as he had promised he would be. She buried her face in his shoulder and smiled as she breathed in his scent. He tilted her face up to his…

The platform was emptying around them as they stood there under the darkening sky, but they were oblivious. It was only when the station was completely deserted that they turned together, taking each other's hands, and began to walk away.

And I will wake up happy…

I wonder why?

The sun comes out again…

I wake up happy.