There was excitement in my steps as I walked home. I had been waiting all day to get back, knowing Tom waited for me there. He had been away in Ireland filming for two months and finally flew home today.
The pink bag of pastries I had picked up at the bakery were clutched in my hand and stinging winter wind blew my hair haphazardly around my face. I clutched my coat tighter around me as I rounded the corner to our little flat. I hurried up the street, eager to see Tom and get out of the bitter London cold. My hands were numb as I fished my key out of my bag and opened the door.
There he was. Tom stood in the entryway and I immediately threw my arms around him, breathing in the familiar scent of tea and warmth that he always carried. "I've missed you!" I said, pulling myself out of his arms to take off my coat, "Two months is longer than I thought it would be. Anyway, I stopped by the bakery and picked you up some of those scones and biscuits you like, and I thought we would go out to eat tonight, does that sound good?"
"Oh, and I grabbed some movies the other day that looked good. I'm in the mood for a movie tonight, what do you think?"
"Gabi." His tone made me turn around and my smile vanished. He looked at me like it hurt him, like he knew the world was going to end and he didn't want to tell me. "I got a job offer."
"That's great!" I said halfheartedly, still wary the way he watched me. I had only seen Tom this dejected on one other occasion: the day his grandmother died.
His eyes studied the floor. "It's in America."
"Okay...well we can Skype and it'll only be a few months, maybe I can come visit you and-"
"Gabi, I-" he sighed.
I felt a yawning void coming up to meet me. Something wasn't right.
"I can't ask that of you. It wouldn't be fair to ask you to wait for me and I don't want you to resent me."
It was then that I noticed the bags by the door, all his things packed in suitcases and duffle bags, stacked neatly and waiting to be taken away.
I didn't trust myself to speak, so we stood for a moment in silence, him looking distinctly uncomfortable and me standing stock still.
I could see the darkness coming for me. I stood on the edge of nothingness, helpless.
"You have my number, you can call me and we can write letters and stay in touch." He said it as a consolation, the way you say something to a crying child.
I still didn't move.
Tom crossed the little space between us in one stride and placed a kiss on my forehead, lingering for just a moment. "Goodbye, love." And then he was gone and I was left standing in the cold entryway alone.
The void swallowed me whole.