The sun began sinking into the horizon, giving the illusion that it was drowning in the vast ocean. Rooney stared, for once she didn’t feel that twinge. She had no desire to run off the cliff and fall to the deep depths below. Some remorse settled in her heart, since she couldn’t see in full panoramic. She only had one eye now, but she was alive and free.
And Jerome was sitting next to her on the bench. A year since the incident and this was their first meeting in person. Though Rooney couldn’t see due to her missing right eye, she knew Monica was over there, watching like a hawk.
There was a few months of silence between Rooney and Jerome, for good reason. But a year of therapy and some prescription that was hard to pronounce made Jerome a member of society again. He was still going to therapy and he couldn’t miss a single dose of his medication, but he was alive.
Rooney was admiring the burning orange melding into the dark indigo for a while, before Jerome spoke up.
“This,” Jerome glanced at Rooney, saw the eyepatch, and looked away. His face burned with shame. “I might be overstepping boundaries.” He muttered and focused on the sunset.
“No,” Rooney put her hands into her lap and purposely turned her head away. She knew he still felt guilty and she didn’t want to feed that. “Go ahead and say what’s on your mind.” She looked at the calm ocean and loved how it appeared like a mirror.
Jerome coughed nervously. “I don’t know about you, but it feels nice, staring out at the ocean and…” He let his words drift into silence.
“...not have the urge to fall into it?” Rooney finished and smiled when she caught Jerome’s shocked expression in her left peripheral.
“Exactly.” Jerome whispered.
Both of them watched the sun until only a small crescent of orange was left.
“I’ve never seen you smile before.” Jerome muttered and noted how the ocean appeared black.
“That’s what Monica said, a couple months ago.” Rooney said with laughter accenting the ending of her speech. “It feels good.” She added softly.
“It looks good.” Jerome muttered and his right hand twitched.
A part of him wanted to reach over, just a little, and hold Rooney’s hand. It was too fast. Right now, he was having difficulties processing the joy of hearing her voice again. Feeling her familiar aura; she felt like an old friend. But the last time they were in close contact, he was holding Rooney so that she could be cut open.
Just as he clenched his right hand into a fist, a smaller hand reached out and rested on it. Jerome caught his breath and stared at their hands. Her touch was light, like a butterfly landing, but it was warm.
“Thank you, Jerome.” Rooney muttered and smiled at Jerome’s bent head.
He began shaking his head slowly, a lump forming in his throat. “No, thank you.” He took in a quivering breath. “Thank you.”
The sun dipped into the ocean and both of them understood the next sunrise would be the dawn of a new day.