“I really like it here.”
“I know you do,” he replied. “I like it, too.”
“The last time I came here, I was happy—you wouldn’t believe it. Going back was…” I looked away from his knowing gaze and snorted bitterly as I recalled leaving the only place I considered home. “I felt really—everything was just really different and…wrong,” I finished meekly.
I thought he stopped listening after my snort which was why, when I looked back, I was startled to see him still focused on me so intently. For three breathes, he said nothing—just watched me the way you’d watch someone after they describe to you every wax and wane of the calla lily they keep locked away in their heart, every curve of its single petal, every kind of bow to its bending stem.
“I see it in you,” he said and before I could ask him what it is he saw, he was already telling me. “The sadness, I see it in your eyes. The struggle to—“
“—happiness takes work,“ I interrupted defensively, trying to justify what he saw.
“—I know it does. But, you know, happiness isn’t about the place you’re in.” He tapped my temple gently with his index and middle fingers before saying, “It’s in here.”