Slam! The colliding front door punched through the house and into his heart. Squeezing his eyes shut, he slumped heavily against the kitchen counter and tried to convince himself that everything would be alright. They had been inseparable for so many years, yet it seemed like the growing void that led to her explosive departure would never be filled again.
The delicate spark in her eyes that brightened in amusement whenever he tried to lighten her mood had slowly bled away to cold steel, the impenetrable quietude of her anger. He had tried to tease it out of her, but it only provoked an icy response. The sudden clockwork yelling and tears left him mute, and he could only hope that the storm would blow through and that she would come back to him in the end. But this felt like the end, and that terrified him.
Perhaps opposites attract, but after they ignite into scintillating fireworks, smoke and embers paint the sky. Scrubbing his eyes, he remembered the first time he’d met her – all of 16 on Halloween at the country fair. She was Joy, who could not find joy; serious, somber, and wary of hurt. He was light-hearted Solomon, who saw the funny in everything, and made it his mission to nurture her smiles. At first she tolerated his antics, indulgent as he shrieked his way through the haunted house and smothered himself with candy floss. But she stayed with him until she grew so used to the brightness he brought that he had become a necessity.
He missed their time at university; she with her starry eyes and he with his mellow smiles as he watched her play guitar or explain her poetry to him. They fit together snuggly, an odd couple that complemented each other completely. But still, spontaneity and adventure ran though his veins. Stultifying commitment and the dead weight of responsibility seemed suffocating, and he ran. It was a horrible game of cat and mouse and now he realized, perhaps too late, that at some point she had started running too.
She had no time for weekend adventures with him anymore; the demands of her job at the children’s hospital stole her away from him. His recent efforts to conjure smiles only produced frowns and it ate him up inside. Earnest Joy and fun-loving Solomon, their friends had marveled at how they bonded. Now their differences sparked fireworks of another kind but he knew he wanted to be with her. He wanted to tell her about the love he felt when finding a special seeing-eye dog to train at work. He missed their weekend drives to explore new locations and their hot chocolate dates on the balcony. Straightening, Solomon committed to finding a way to make her smile again.