Looking down at the peacefully sleeping pale-skinned young man, she was tempted to undress again and crawl back into bed with him. It couldn’t be, though. That old Paul Simon tune may have been playing in the back of her mind but there was only one way to leave this lover. She had to slip out the back, Jack.
Gently placing the note she’d written on the empty pillow next to his head she smiled at the way his auburn hair tumbled over his face. Careful not to wake him she brushed the cascading locks away from his eyes., wishing she could look into those deep blue pools of wonder one more time. They were closed however. Better that way.
Turning away before the temptation became too strong, she walked quickly over to the writing desk. Her trench coat was draped over the chair. She took it up, slipped into it, drawing the belt tightly around her waist. Next she picked up the wide-brimmed fedora on the desk and donned it at a jaunty angle covering half her face. Giving the man one last longing look, she strode to the door and slipped out as quietly as she could.
The sharp click of the latch stirred the young man from his slumber. His eyes opened, immediately taking in the note. The sight curled his stomach into a tiny ball of dread. Sitting up, he lifted the paper, inhaling its lavender scent before reaching for the wire framed specs sitting on the nightstand. Putting them on, he took another deep breath then began reading.
Always know that if I were ever able to settle down and make a life with a man it would be with you. But this is something I simply cannot do. You must understand this, mi Corazón. Like me, you are on the run. I cannot hide as you though. The shadows are my friend. The crowds and bright sun are yours. If I were to run away with you I would mark you out, and likewise, you would do the same to me in my world. Our enemies would quickly find us. As painful as it is we must each follow our own paths. Maybe one day in a better world those paths will become one.
Until then you have my undying love,
His mind raced. Was there time to stop her? No, she was too slippery. Finding her again would be next to impossible. Sadness washed over him and he let the note slip from his fingers.
A few minutes later, he wrapped the bed sheet around him and dragged his bony frame out of the bed. Walking to the window, he stepped over his rumpled clothes, strewn about the night before with the onset of passion. The dark levis, hiking boots, and the red-and-white-striped henley with matching toque were a complete contrast to the haute couture Carmen always favored. He had to admit they were opposites. Still, they’d been so good together, hadn’t they?
Twisting the rod that controlled the vertical blinds, he allowed the morning sun to enter the room. Shielding his eyes against its light with one hand, he half-hoped to catch sight of his raven-haired love walking across the plaza in front of the hotel. He knew better, though. As she had said, the shadows were her way.
“I’ll always love you,” he said as he continued to stare out at the coming day.
Several floors down, Carmen emerged from the kitchens onto the hotel loading dock and paused a moment before descending the steps and vanishing down the alley.
“I miss you already, Waldo,” she whispered as though she had heard his goodbye.