He had no words with which to speak. But his heart sung to her, loud and clear; so she sang back.
His puppet plays were silent but she understood every phrase. And though he could not dance, he danced ever so gracefully with her.
His love for her was innocent, naive, boundless. The radiant joy in his eyes at the sight of her, the caution in his touch, the eager obedience to her every, sometimes flighty, whim.
She loved him all the more for it.
Perhaps he was a bit simple, perhaps not. He was far more intelligent than her mother ever gave him credit for, in any case. But he understood her, even in her own silences, perhaps even more adept at understanding quiet than she.
And he was hers.
She couldn't remember how long ago it had been since they fell in love. Maybe even the first moment they met, when her mother had rescued him from the streets of Budapest. Her mother's generosity even then had been questionable, as she was rather a tyrant and had no need of another mouth to feed, but there he was, eyes wide and trusting, lips shut.
Oh, she had quickly found out why he couldn't speak. She remembered the heart-wrenching sadness at knowing she could never hear his voice, not even for a moment.
Instead, she taught him to read and write. They practiced writing each other notes, first in English, then in their own secret language. Her mother had never been able to decode their letters and her daughter liked that just fine.
But oh, he was beautiful. He grew up taller than she, mop of unkempt brown hair, lanky and thin and wiry. He was practically waif-ish beside her and though she knew any one of the girls she went to school with would despise it, she thought it endearing. And what did his size matter when his deceptively strong arms were around her, protecting her where he would not protect himself?
When it came to him, she was so selfish. She loved to go on walks with him, but hated the way other girls would look at him. And even though his attention never strayed from her, she wanted more, more than his total devotion, more than his eternal love.
Still, he was kind and patient with her, even with all her faults, and when Baba wasn't looking, they would kiss chastely until night fell and he came to her room to sleep. Just the nearness of her eased him to slumber and she would lie beside him and smile.
He was her Toby and that was just how Monica liked it.