head cradled in his hands
trying to breathe
trying not to shake,
to fall apart.

he could not win this battle
it was never his
to begin with –
her heart remained elsewhere
his mind always on her
nobody could have known
nobody could have seen.

he had pulled her close
just one last time
kissing her cheek
in the most affectionate of ways
she had pulled away
tears in her eyes
uncertainty swimming endlessly
he let her go
he had to
she needed so much more.