Gloria stood at the gate, unsure if it was for the last time. Daryl leant in to give her a farewell kiss, but she swiveled her head slightly so that his three-day growth grazed her cheek.
"See you when you get back," he said.
She looked into his eyes. The black flecks, like islands in the blue ocean, reflected the late afternoon sun. She'd miss those eyes.
And with that, he turned to go back inside. She imagined him going past the fridge to collect a coldie and then out to the shed.
She feels her face flush with the thought and can feel the anger pulse through her. He'd spent the last week tinkering out there rather than spend time with her. She felt this was a precarious time for their relationship, as if they were finely balanced but could tip over at any point.
Gloria gets into the taxi. She tells the driver to go to the train station and leaves behind all thoughts of Daryl. She has two weeks with her parents to look forward to. Two weeks to bat away questions about why he hasn't proposed yet, and most likely two weeks to decide if she'll come back. She wasn't getting any younger.
She aimlessly watched the small town go by. Would anyone miss her? Her students would, until the next adventure popped into their little bird-like brains.
Lost in thought, she watched the small school, on the outskirts of town, pass. She would miss the dusty yard and drafty classrooms.
The station was strangely quiet, considering this was the only train heading to Adelaide for the week. It usually was the only time when she could be reminded of a larger, busier city.
She paid the driver and he, strangely, helped her with her bag, insisting on carrying it for her.
There was a strange hush, muting all the sounds.
She entered the terminal and stopped dead in her tracks. The entire town was standing there, watching her. Her students stood around Daryl, their hair slicked back as if this were a Sunday. And Daryl...
This couldn't be the same man she just saw. He’s cleanly shaven and wearing his Sunday best. She worried he was dirtying his one knee, and he knelt. Now, it wasn't his eye shimmering, but something small and shiny.