“I want to run away but there is nowhere to go.”

She barely meets his eye but he knows what comes next without having to read them. He thinks of the closed borders and the travel bans, he thinks of the empty train that passed him on his way here, to her.

There´s an unopened pack of cigarettes on her nightstand, it makes time seem empty. They used to say cigarettes only kill if you let them, but nobody ever told him that it was the same for people, as well. If she hadn’t let him in that night, would he be sitting here? Would they have ended up like this? Would they have ended? Like this?

He does not know how to reply in a way that will let her know that he understands. The truth is, and they both know it, that nowhere exists only in the minds of people who fear to leave. It is always the people who don’t plan on moving, who allow themselves the privilege of complaining about their inertia.

If they had stayed in the woods a little longer before finding shelter, if they had allowed the sun to lay his judgment on them, if they had been a little more visible to the untrained eye, would they have ended up like this?
Would they have ended? Like this

Outside her window the sky is slowly turning dark blue, the sun likes to cling to the sky in these months, but not today. Today even the sun feels like leaving. Her sheets are white and the room’s walls are bare. In his mind, he sees the posters that had hung here mere days ago. He wonders why she took them down but he fears her reply and so he allows the silence and ignores the suitcase under her desk. If you want people to speak, give them silence, his father used to tell him. Silence is valuable but in moments like this, it is worthless: a waste of time. The silence will drag this out further than it must be dragged out and he almost gets up to leave but stops himself. He looks at her again, really looks at her, the kind of looking you do when you know it will be the last time. He watches a face-framing lock of hair bounce slightly as she reaches up to wipe a tear from the corner of her eyes. She won’t meet his gaze again, her shoulders are tense and her teeth are dug into the inside of her cheek. A nervous habit of hers, one of the ones that taste of blood. There is defiance in this and he has always admired it: her willingness to hurt in turn for a glimpse of happiness. They aren’t alike like that, maybe this is the reason this is happening. Maybe their zodiacs aren’t compatible, or maybe the tarot cards lied. Maybe the universe didn’t care after all, or maybe they had been playing each other all along and it was up to the winner to decide what to do. Stay or leave, stay or leave, play, or be played. Stay or leave.

If they hadn’t gone into it with the intention of leaving, would they have ended up like this?
Would they have ended? Like this?

Her sheets are white and the room’s walls are bare. All of a sudden the color of hope doesn’t seem so hopeful anymore, all of a sudden it tastes bitter, like tears in the back of a throat, like missed chances and premature goodbyes. The pack of cigarettes make his fingers itch and his throat tense in anticipation of the nicotine. Cigarette smoke or that of a burning home, it will all taste the same to them one day.Stay or leave. Play or be played.

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