Stale cigar smoke. Bitter beer. Earth. The coppery tang of blood that soap can’t touch.
She inhales deeply as iron strong arms wrap around her and hug her. Not too tightly but close. She can hear a heart beating alongside hers; strong, maybe a little slower than in the past, but still there. Tired. But still there.
When he releases her, she gives a small smile. barely there. “I’ll keep an eye on them,” she promises, not needing to state just who “they” are.
He doesn’t say anything in return, doesn’t have to. It’s been long enough that they understand each other without having to say much at all. Time will do that to you. Time marches on but, eventually, it takes you with it.
He doesn’t say anything, doesn’t even say goodbye. Just utters a grunted huff, the edges of a rueful smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. No…not just rueful.
Proud. Sad. Determined.
Reaching out he puts a hard, rough, calloused hand against Betsy’s cheek for a moment before letting it drop to her shoulder and giving it a squeeze that would crack the bones of a less hardy person.
Then the old bastard shoulders his pack and heads off down the drive. He hops into the old ’68 mustang, roars it to life, and is gone.
It’s hard to say goodbye. Maybe that’s why they don’t say it. For them, can it ever really be goodbye, though? Or will they just end up side-by-side again when the world has turned enough times?
Who knows? In either case, goodbyes are hard. That’s why they don’t say them. Time will do that to you.
Time marches on and, eventually, it takes you with it.
(Graphic credit: Imgur, by ManWhoLovesSuperheroes)