At that moment I looked up and saw all the naked branches against the white clouds. It was a quiet town and trees could still thrive here, so the branches grew wildly, reaching for something that was always too far away.

It made me think of the darkness of her pubes reaching for the white plane of her stomach, or the roots towards the heart of existence. She had kind eyes but not a single hair on her body wanted to relinquish the wildness. She noticed I was looking up, but could not see anything special there.

I touched her hand as though it was the first time and I had to keep it a secret. Her hand was cold, we had been out too long walking on the cobblestones, looking for something we did not need. At least when I sensed her warmth, it felt like nothing else was important.

I drew her close just to smell her own scent under the one she was wearing. It was earthy, slightly sour, not at all like the floral sweetness under which she was hiding. But I did not want the mask, I always wanted to know what lay beyond her ideas on how to be attractive. They were so much based on old compliments, half-remembered smiles or long gazes, that it was difficult to tell which parts of her mask she had painted herself, reflecting her own tastes instead of those of others.

As I pressed my face against her neck, I thought that love must always contain a vestige of loneliness, because no matter what I do, my longing will always stay there, it is never quenched.

She will always be a mystery, a mind that rotates differently and shines with different colours from mine. But the difference excited me, I would always be trying to understand her, no matter how easy or hard.

So the thought of loneliness never frightened me, as it was an essential part of love that renews itself every moment. It only becomes torture when the desire to understand is not mutual.

I lifted up my eyes and saw her smiling. She would still be beautiful fifty years from now. I wrote a wordless prayer on her skin with my lips. Let this be enough.