Minutes previous we had watched from our rooftop as the sun descended behind the cities skyline; silhouetting skyscrapers across a golden horizon. Her body tensed in my arms, she was on edge, as she always was this time of night, but something in her was starkly different.
“You’re going to meet him, aren’t you?” I asked. I knew the answer already, but I needed to hear it from her.
“You know I am” she said “I have to. He has to be stopped”
For what it’s worth, I always admired her conviction, even though I always knew from the start it would also be our end. She’d been the strongest personality of anyone I met and I likely wouldn’t meet another girl like her. I wasn’t truly sure if that was a blessing or a curse.
“Why can’t the police do it this time?” I asked in vain, fully aware the question wouldn’t work. It was a please I had made a thousand times, when the stakes were less high, and she had never listened then.
“You know the answer” She said solemnly, pulling away from me and starting her preparations. She pulled her large sports bag out and unzipped it defiantly; laying her costume out in neat piles. How I hated that bag of instruments. I would spend our days together scowling at it, aware that inside it she held all the things that were pulling us apart.
I watched from my concrete seat as she pulled her black mask over her golden hair and clasped it tightly under her chin. Suddenly her true self was standing before me. To enemies and allies alike she was known as The Shard; but not to me.
“Kate if you go…” I started, my lip betraying me with a quiver. I cursed myself under my breath for not having her strength of will.
“I’ll be back,” She said, a small smile curling on her face; her confidence ebbing from her stance as she finished adjusting the rest of her suit.
“But I won’t” I said, physically rising with the volume of my voice. Tears edged their way out of my eyes; pushing mascara out their path and forming contours in my foundation. “I’ve watched you leave too many times, Kate. I sit up all night wondering when – not if – but when I’ll have to learn about your death on the front page of some disgusting tabloid. When you slip up, or when someone comes along who is just better, I’ll lose you and I’ll never know. If you can’t give up being The Shard then we can’t go on in this relationship”
It felt good to get the words off my chest; it always did. How many times had we had the argument? The same back and forth that got me nowhere. Kate wouldn’t ever change, this was her life and her self-imposed duty.
“Sophie look-“ She started, her hand out as she approached as though extending the proverbial olive branch.
“Forget it Kate. There’s too much at stake. This is you, this will always be you. It’s me that fell in love with you, exactly as you are, and it’s me that foolishly thought you would ever change. I don’t want to give you an ultimatum, because I know you wouldn’t be happy if you chose anything other than the fight. If you’re leaving on this mission, which I know full well you are, then I’m sorry but I’m leaving too”
I walked away from her and down the apartment stairs, slamming the door behind me as I left. I always admired her conviction; but it was finally time to have some of my own.