He stood in front of me, looking at the leaves on the wet ground with fake interest. He was too small; his hair was too short to protect his thin neck from the wind.
He had cut it himself and it looked really bad, which he had personally admitted.
I wanted to take two steps forward and hug him, make sure everything was fine, bring him home and sit in front of him, watching him laugh at my stupid jokes and sip the tea I've made him.
But I knew, I knew for eighty-three days already that a decision was made, and that we would have to have this conversation sometime.
I waited until the last minute, and couldn't help but admit that the timing was really bad.
"We need to talk." - I said, as softly as I could. I felt my heart beating faster against my chest.
"You're leaving." - he said, still with his back to me. It sounded so simple and painful when he said it in his half-childish voice.
"Actually... My train's in two hours." - I added after a brief pause.
He murmured something and then began to whistle. I swallowed nervously. I've never had serious conversations with him.
Yes, we spoke about philosophy and debated politics, but we tried to avoid speaking about us.
"What..." - my voice cracked, "what are you whistling?"
"And the bride in the green-green dress..." - he sang and finally turned to face me.
"That's a song I've written for you."
I felt the panic rise in me. I've always feared I wouldn't be able to do it properly, and here I am, listening to songs about brides in green dresses.
His face was surprisingly calm, and I couldn't even find the sadness in it, even though I knew it was there, hidden inside.
"You know I've never wanted a dress."
"But I always thought you would be beautiful in it." - he replied.
One, two, three, four seconds of awkward silence. Breathe in, breathe out.
"Nobody's ever proposed." - I said, almost whispering.
"And what do you suggest? Doing it now? We can manage to say all the vows before your train leaves."
I hated it. I hated seeing him so serious. He wasn't even meant to be grown up enough to have this conversation.
He looked so fragile, I felt like I needed to hold him and shelter him from the cruel world outside.
And now I felt like I failed my mission - I let the cruel world get inside, I let myself be part of the cruel world. I let myself hurt him. I let myself leave.
A smile sprinkled between his lips, so little that I hardly caught it. And then his face turned serious again.
"You really need to go, do you?" - he asked, in his annoying manner of simplifying every complex problem.
"Yes." - I whispered. He looked away again, at the small pond on the other end of the garden.
"But do you want to?" - it felt as if he didn't want to ask it. It felt strange and fake, flying in the strained air in between us.
I wanted to go away, or to cry, or at the very least to hug him and to start comforting him, but I couldn't do anything but say quietly, with a sort of rejection in my voice:
There were a few more moments of this awkward silence I hated so much, and then he started whistling again: "Here's the bride in the green-green dress..."
He kicked a little stone on the ground as far away as he could, but I was on the other end of the garden by then.
Sitting on the cold train bench and looking at my hometown disappear in the fog; I thought of all the things I haven't told him. Of what it really was, this place I was going to.
Of how I might kill people, or even get killed myself. Of how it was more than "wanted" or "needed". Of how I was going to war, and I couldn't just not go.