Even then, there were moments left hanging there, which could go one way or another. We edged around those moments never sure what the other would do, each afraid of taking the one step that would bring us closer, in case we were rebuffed.
We both knew we could, if we made the effort, close the gap between us. We had known each other far too long for something so simple, so small, to tear us apart. But both of us were wounded, scared and scarred, unwilling to attempt crossing that no-man’s land of this particular battlefield.
Maybe we were shell-shocked by the years of conflict. Maybe our battle fatigue was such that neither of us could gather ourselves for that final push back into enemy territory.
What had been, years ago, such a grand alliance between the two of us, had – over the years – turned to distrust, suspicion and awareness that each side was forming other alliances out beyond the other’s influence.
The border between us faded away during those first few years, so we became one. Then that border slowly reasserted itself until it became the disputed territory and then became these battlefields fought over so long and bitterly.
Still, neither of us would give up, neither of us wanted to admit defeat, surrender to the thought of us as apart, separate, the border between us fenced, guarded and inviolable.
So, each night, no matter how far apart we slept, each far over our own sides of the bed, the next morning found us wrapped in each other’s arms like two battle-weary soldiers who’d fought each other to death.