Long Way Away

She sat down beside him because she just couldn’t watch him sit there like that any longer. He looked cold and lonely in the sunlight. She took his hand and held it tightly between her own. Then, for the first time in what seemed like hours, he looked up at her. He blinked, the light too bright for him even though he’d been outside for a long time.
‘Where’ve you been?’ She said.
‘I’m not sure,’ he said.
His helplessness nearly made her cry. She had never seen a person so still, and so lost.
She said, ‘Do you think you’re back now? Are you back here with me?’
‘I think so.’ He looked down at his hands again and she realised his thumb was bleeding where he’d been chewing at the skin around the nail. There was a spot of it on her palm. She put her hand on his cheek and gently turned his face towards her.
‘No matter what you need, I am here,’ she said, ‘always.’
He looked into her eyes for some moments, his face softening subtly. A slight noise escaped from his mouth, as if a tiny breath of relief had floated out of his very soul.
‘You’ve been a long way away,’ she said. ‘Thank you for coming back to me.’

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