They stood in companionable silence for a while. John felt the familiar pangs that they could only meet in public, could only appear to be with each other by chance. He stole a glance at her, the haunted eyes telling of her own hollowness, companion to the ache at his own core that they couldn’t steal just a few minutes to do what he knew they both longed for.
He couldn’t even look her in the eye. It wasn’t practical, it wasn’t safe.
The crowd thinned, and John’s heart leaped. Palms sweating, the pounding of his heard thunder in his own ears he waited and an agony of seconds ticked by as people wandered away.
They were alone.
“I know it’s not easy for you either,” he blurted, almost afraid to look at her, almost afraid to see the pain in her eyes, “but believe me, I want to be with you as much as you want me. And it can happen. Things are changing. I read things, on the internet, people like us finally being together. It’s not a hopeless cause.”
He looked at her feet, and then away.
“I just need you to be patient with me a while longer. Can you do that?”
But the moment was gone and the people were back. The bustling horde that gave them camouflage but also denied them intimacy. But he could see the faint smile on her lips, knew what it meant.
They stood in silence for a few minutes more, but eventually John drifted away. As he always had to.
For her part, if the Statue of Liberty shared his pain at their parting she allowed no hint of it to reach her face.
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