I thought that I would cry then, but I didn’t. I watched, my vision unblurred by tears that never came. I watched, dry-eyed, as it all fell apart and came to nothing. I didn’t cry. I couldn’t. I knew that there was too much left to do, and crying would accomplish nothing, but all the same, I thought that maybe I had some small spark of humanity that the Creator might have seen fit to leave within me even after all the events of the past I-forget-how-long-exactly. Anybody else, any other person, by the sheer virtue of being human, would have wept.
I waited in vain for the first tear to streak down my cheek, waited till my eyes ached and fatigue pounded dully on the inside of my head, for something inside me to crack. My self-control was in pieces, but on the outside I showed nothing save grim composure. If I had had any measure of willpower left, I would have made myself cry. But I couldn’t, and I had to realize that the hard way. There was no turning back from what had happened. There was no pause-and-rewind, no U-turns permitted.
I should have wept, for us, for the past, for the future. For salvation. For repentance, for anything at all; mostly for me. But there it is. I didn’t.
He turned to me, though it would be a long time still before we would be able to meet each other’s gaze again. His hand took mine, a small gesture of support and need at the same time, a token that I clung to in the middle of our chaos.
“We’re leaving, aren’t we?” I hoped that my voice would give way, wanted to hear myself break down and dissolve into helpless female mode, even though I knew it would do no good to anyone. Instead, there was only dull despair in my words, and it was a sign of his own shame and misery that he did not recoil from me.
He started to walk, and I walked with him, through what had once been ours. Every step wrenched tighter around my heart, and I expected to fall to my knees, sobbing, at any moment. Even in this, I disappointed myself further than I thought possible.
At the gate, he stopped, and we looked back one final time. At last, after countless agonizing breaths, he touched my cheek, still avoiding my eyes as I did his. In the lightness of his fingertips, his touch said all that he could not bring himself to; told me that I was still his greatest weakness; that he would be with me for all of this life, that we had each other. Call him disobedient, if you will, or weak, or faithless, and I will not say anything to deny it. He lacked many things, maybe, but love was not one of them. Not for my Adam.
Finally he spoke, using the name he had chosen for me.
“Eve,” was all he said. The pain in his voice multiplied my own, yet still my eyes were dry. We walked together from our former life, in search of some shred of hope for ourselves, for the future. In search of tears.