My heart hammered as I looked at my girlfriend of four years to wish her a safe journey. She was leaving to study in Cuba for seven years. Seven years!

I pulled her closer to my body. We were an inch apart. I closed the gap by leaning my forehead on hers. I felt warm, loved and safe. Our hearts were beating the same rhythm. Our breaths were mingling. Our eyes replaced the words. We didn’t have to read each other’s minds. A tear drop threatened to evacuate my eye. A wave of fear influenced my body from toe to head.

I looked at my lover’s eyes and a gigantic block was in view. She looked down, and lifted her head up at a snail’s pace. She blinked rapidly and brushed her fingers on mine. She finally opened the window to her eyes. What I saw was heart drenching! Wayethatha ebeka umntanomuntu! She was trying to talk. Her cheeks were shaking like jelly.

I put my hand gently on her cheek. I drew circles on it. She calmed down. I embraced her, on a bone-crushing hug. I made a mistake by closing my eyes! Tsunami swamped down my cheeks, damping my chin and trimmed beard. I breathed evenly. I heard her sniffing, oh, my Sugarplum! My heart bled.

Her father honked the car, startling the two of us. My mouth automatically opened and closed, gasping. My head turned to look at her father’s car, to her, her father’s car and back to her, battling to accept that it was finally time to let her go. I wanted to say something, desperately. The speech God invaded in my mind and ransacked all my words. My mind went dry as a bone.

I sighed deeply and held her hands waist high. Wasn’t there something to be negotiated? Did she have to crumble my heart ethically? How was I going to see when my eyes were closed? Did she have to go ahead and twist the knife? Was life going to be worth living with her thousands, if not millions, of miles away from me? Questions taunted my cranium as she untangled our hands.

She turned on her heels and walked to her father’s car. I died there and then.