I felt weird holding his hand. Just because it was something we’d never done before and I wasn’t entirely sure where it was headed. But he was acting like it was the most normal thing in the world, so I relaxed a little and just went with it. No harm was being done. Holding hands isn’t a promise of undying love or anything. And even though the sun was shining really blindingly bright, it was still blustery cold. So cold that if we’d not been holding hands I would’ve had my hands scrunched deep in my pockets. And I couldn’t feel my nose. I just knew it was there, pink and smarting and hopeless.
Ivan isn’t Russian, in case you get the wrong idea. He is tall. And he has eyes that, when he looks at you, make you think he is going to cry. He doesn’t cry, though. Or not that I’ve seen. There’s just a sadness about him that you can’t quite put your finger on. But it’s not off-putting. It doesn’t make him undesirable.
They’ve built a huge grey box in the centre of the city. It is full of shiny glittery shops selling not much. We decided to give it a miss. We decided to walk along the riverbank and feed the ducks instead. Ivan threw the bread out really far, which isn’t the point when you’re feeding ducks. The point is to throw the bread really close to where you are, so the ducks all quack around your feet and get happy and go into a bread frenzy. No frenzy took place near enough for me to get excited, so we walked on. Swans are pretty big. You don’t mess with swans. We kept our distance. We were all out of bread anyway.
He held my hand again. And we sat on the steps and looked into the river. Traffic rumbled over the bridge. People went about their day to day. We didn’t really talk. There didn’t seem like there was anything to say.