“This will be the last time you lie to me,” Natalia whispered over the fence. One hand hooked the top of the fence as Natalia was obviously tip-toeing to peek her head over and stretching her other arm over the fence. With that hand, she made a come hither motion.
Just standing there watching as Nat tried to get her to move closer. Eve didn’t, not this time, she wasn’t happy. “You know it’s not like that.”
Eve watched out of the corner of her eye as Nat pulled her hand back, hooking that one over the top of the fence with the other. She shook her head, not hiding the visible disappointment and anger from her face. Well, Eve knew her, knew those emotions were visible, despite not being able to fully see her face. “How could you think this wouldn’t hurt me?”
Eve blinked back the tears that were threatening to flood from her eye sockets and down her cheeks. Tears would not help her situation, it would only appear as though she was guilt-tripping Nat. She took a deep breath, willing herself to be brave enough to face the situation.
Finally, Eve turned to face the bobbing head behind the fence. She walked gingerly toward Nat. She then reached her hands out, placing them on Nat’s, which made Nat flinch. “I knew you were never going to be the same after this.”
“I just think that since you couldn't tell me..." Nat coughed and took a deep breath; Eve wondered if that was deliberate or if what was following was really hard for her to say. "I thought that maybe it’d be best if we never met.”
Eve dropped her hands, dropping her head to stare at grass beneath her bare feet. “I can’t believe you would even think to leave me like this.”
There was a silence between the pair, for at least a minute. Only the cool autumn breeze blew on that overcast day, which seemed rather befitting with their moods. A car honked impatiently in the street, as if signalling Nat to finally speak up. “You never loved me, did you?”
Eve sighed in disappointment at Nat’s question, she looked up at Nat with tears in her eyes. “It’s more complicated than that…” She choked out as the tears ran down her face.
Nat turned away from the fence not willing to listen any more, so Eve could no longer see her. She could only hear her utter what she said next through gritted teeth, “How can it be complicated?” It made Natalie's blood boil just thinking about how Eve wouldn’t give her a true reason.
Eve jumped as high as she could to try to get a peek of her neighbour and heart, pretending that she was on a tramboline. Although all that would have been able to see over the fence were the hairs atop her head, none that fell round her ears though. On the third jump she came up too fast to steady herself for the landing and met fence, face first.
Hearing the smack as Eve fell to the ground, Nat turned, easing backwards to perch on the edge of her trampoline.
“I do love you but sometimes there are things I can’t say to you,” Eve groaned as she lay sprawled on the ground. Eve wanted more than anything for Natalia to believe her, but she knew wouldn't be. Why? Because Eve wouldn't be believing herself right now.
As if to prove her assumption correct, Nat muttered, “I’m not sure of what to think… I... I need time alone…”
Rubbing the back of her head as she pushed herself back up into a sitting position, Eve shook her head. She couldn’t let her go like this, not without a fight. Dropping her hand, she looked around and saw an old plastic chair. It was upturned and had probably been like that since the summer before last. The summer her family got the news. The last time any of her family, besides her, had stepped foot in her small yard. The first gathering she had hosted and the last she had attended.
Once she had pushed herself up off the ground, Eve went over to the chair. Taking ahold of its back, she dragged it over and propped it up against the fence. Her bare feet stepped tentatively onto it, fearing that it would be unable to take her weight. It did. Her shoulders and bust now above the fence line, she looked into her neighbour’s perfectly manicured yard. Nat was now sitting on the edge of the trampoline they had once roughhoused on. A lump formed in Eve’s throat at the memory and she swallowed. “Don’t you realise that that’s the one thing I don’t need.”
Nat didn’t give her eye contact but responded quickly, “It’s not just about you here.”
Eve wanted to retort, I think you’ll find it is, but held her tongue long enough to rethink. “It’s not what I want… I told you this. I told you as soon as I made the decision so that we could discuss it. Can we?”
Nat didn’t reply. Eve sighed and, although a bit clumsily, made her way over the fence.
She hoisted herself up with her forearms, trying to straddle the fence as she attempted to clamber over, tumbling down onto the grass below. She was used to thicker and heavier walls, and even then, it'd been a few months since she had had to climb one of those.
Eve caught her eye. Nat had looked up from her lap with a look of concern, making sure that Eve was alright, then looked away just as quickly again. As Eve stood up and wiped the mud off her elbow, Nat remarked, "You have already made your decision, what is there to discuss?" Though she still ignore her and wouldn't keep eye contact as Eve trudged over to sit beside her on the trampoline’s edge.
Eve placed her hand upon Nat’s thigh. “Why are you so opposed to this idea? I said I want you to come with me.”
“You think it’s that easy?”, Nat answered a little more gruffly than she’d intended.
“…What happens when the time does come, Evelyn? When you have left us and I’m left somewhere with no way to get home. What happens when you follow the same path as your brother?”
Eve pulled her hand back and took a few gulps of air as if trying to swallow the lump that had now hardened in her throat. "It's not going to happen," she croaked. "It won't be to that part of the world, I won't go."
"You'll have no choice... he didn't."
Eve couldn't stand it, Natalia was sobbing now. It was breaking her heart. Also, to talk about her brother this week, she couldn't stand it. "Maybe not, but maybe with someone to make sure I come home. Someone waiting for my return-"
"I always wait, that's what I do. Here I am, waiting here for you, always."
Neither were looking at each other. They were both too upset. "Not here. Not waiting here, I don't want to leave you behind."
"That's what you do, and then you return. But one day you won't."
"Not this time," Eve claimed, her tone got much firmer. "Not if you listen to me, Nat. I said I wanted to discuss it and discuss it I will." Eve grabbed ahold of Natalia's hand and leapt to her feet. Turning to face her, see her beautiful wet, puffy face; Eve got down on one knee. Still holding on to her hand but now looking up at her.
"Wha- What are you doing, Eve?"
Eve didn't hesitate with her reply, she just spewed out her thoughts. "Discussing this with you. I love you, Nat, but I don't want to keep leaving and making you wait. I've signed my name up to be deployed, yes, but you could come with. I don't want to write letters or video call you, I want you to be there with me-"
"I... I'm not join the-"
"No, Nat, not that way. I want us to be married." She paused to let it sink in and then pushed a warm smile through the tears. "Natalia, will you marry me?"