Jesus,” he whispered at last. “Claire…you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”
“You,” I said with conviction, “are losing your eyesight. It’s probably glaucoma; you’re too young for cataracts.”
He laughed at that, a little unsteadily, and then I saw that he was in fact blinded—his eyes shone with moisture, even as he smiled. He blinked hard, and held out his hand. “I,” he said, with equal conviction, “ha’ got eyes like a hawk, and always did. Come here to me.”
He looked up at me, smiling as tears streamed down his face. He had large white perfect teeth. Suddenly memory stirred and shifted, showing me the outlines of an urchin’s face beneath the man’s bold visage.
I watched the rise and fall of his breath, and the play of light and shadow on the strong, clean lines of his face, and knew that nothing truly mattered between us but the fact that we both still lived. So here I was. Again. And whatever the cost of it might be to him or me, here I stayed.