I see the rain, and a car full of people, and suppressed tears in the corners of my eyes. "You will come back," she whispers kindly, and deep in my heart, I know I will.

She jokes with me as she cuts your birthday cake, days after my return. We cheer to a great year ahead... a year full of surprises.

We share an unexpected work trip, some eight hours in a bus that feel like a lifetime. You tell me your breakup news and I share the pain of being cheated on. We visit the city slums and a local jail. It rains heavily and we are stuck in a shady eatery, talking for hours. The labyrinth of gardens leads us to an old coffee mill, plants growing on top of it. A kiss turns into laughter as a group of tourists walks into sight, observing us, not the mill.

How is she, I ask you a couple of days after the accident. "Why don't you check for yourself?" As I am waiting in line for the plane, I finally get the courage to do so. I hear her voice going weak as I make that morning phone call to the hospital. "I'm about to go into surgery," she says quietly, and although she's trying hard to suppress them, I can hear her tears.

I can't stop feeling resentment for my actions. I can't help but feel that even this physical pain she's enduring is somehow my fault.

Masking my heartache, I ask you to be with her. "She really needs you at such a time," I whisper. "I really need you at such a time," you reply stubbornly. I nod in disagreement.

I hear my phone beep one morning as I sit by the Nile, one week till I see you again, one week before there is no more 'us'.

"How I wish to be the one who completes you."

I put the phone aside and dip my feet in the water. No one here can see me cry.

Image credit: Elizabeth May


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