In this short story, Johanna Hochegger weaves a simple, romantic story about the little ways in which our world can change when we fall in love.
It had been the same for a long, long time. Getting up, going for a run, going to work, leaving work, watching TV and then going to bed.
Every single day.
On some days, he actually broke his routine and went surfing. But that was pretty much it.
Now, these times were over. Whenever he left work in the past, he was always greeted by an empty apartment, apart from Monty. He would pat his dog, maybe drink a cup of coffee and then go to sleep. But that changed too.
It all changed.
Because now, he was coming home to someone, he had someone to watch TV with, someone to share his cup of coffee with and finally someone to say goodnight to. And even though they weren´t supposed to be together, they were happy. Keeping it their own little secret; their own chance at happiness.
They still fought like hell, yes. But every night they would kiss each other, just to show they were still okay. The bickering, the flirting, the fighting, the laughing and their ways of annoying each other were still there … they always would be, because these things were simply them.
What no one saw were the tiny things: the hand-holding under the table, the worried glances if one of them wasn´t alright, the silent "I love you" they told each other through their eyes.
And every day, their relationship progressed a little more. They slowly opened up to each other. They would show each other their scars, one by one. Every time he would open up a little more about his childhood, she would hold him a little tighter. Every time, she would tell him a little more about her father and her mother, who hasn´t been in her life until hardly a year ago, he would hold her a little tighter too.
Every night, their intimacy with each other grew until they were familiar with each other´s bodies, more familiar than anyone else would ever be.
Every day, they would learn more about the small, seemingly unimportant things, which actually mattered a lot. He knew the rituals she had after having a bad day and he knew which sweets to get her. She knew when to leave him some space and she knew exactly when and how to push his buttons.
Meanwhile, the walls, which have been building up for a long time, were starting to crumble a little more, and slowly the pieces were starting to fall.
He had known for a long time what the word "fine" really meant for her. He could see behind the false smile and know how to make her feel better. She realized when he was actually hiding behind his humour, when he wore a mask to hide his true feelings and she would be there for him.
There weren´t any secrets, there weren´t any hidden feelings and there weren´t any unnoticed glances or kisses they never spoke of … no stories the other didn´t know about.
Everything was out in the open … well at least for them.
They had created their own little world that no one knew about. And, as far as they were concerned, no-one had to. It wasn´t as if they were ashamed, not at all. It was about letting others in. They knew their colleagues would eventually approve of them, but it still meant letting the team in into something private. Something only they could have and share.
They had created their own routine. Waking up together, going running and twice a week surfing, going to work, leaving work, having dinner and going to bed. The difference was, they weren´t alone anymore. They had each other, their special relationship and their unique thing:
their own love story.