It had always been a struggle, Kristjan’s relationship with Safiya, but it had been worth it. They met when she was studying in Reykjavik from Malaysia and it was love at first sight. It was a difficult courtship because Safiya never appreciated anything about Iceland save for it “having made you,” as she would say.
Kristjan could only see one solution to stay with her and so he took the plunge and moved to Kuala Lumpur with her at the end of her studies. They wed earlier than planned in order to help with his immigration paperwork, and afterwards he found work quite easily. Life was full and exciting and everything seemed to have snapped into place.
There was always something happening Kuala Lumpur, taking them from music festivals and night markets to impromptu circus performances in the park. People were everywhere and always on the move. It was invigorating compared to home, but also a lot to adjust to.
Safiya liked to go for long walks in the evening as the air was starting to cool. Kristjan partly thought that it was for him because it was so much more calming than anything else.
One evening in late August, a little over a year after they wed, they were out for one of these walks. Though always beautiful, the sunset was getting repetitive to Kristjan. Sun up, twelve hours later, sun down.
However, Safiya’s soft hand fit perfectly in his, her thumb unconsciously rubbing back and forth, making every walk special. They’d taken this route many times, knowing it was the best way to avoid certain nosy neighbours who still treated Kristjan like a commodity that Safiya shouldn’t be keeping to herself.
This evening walking through the leafy suburb in Kuala Lumpur, something was different. Kristjan felt out of place and not for any stray comments he’d overheard. He’d made Malaysia his home, but now there was a bubbling inside, feelings he’d ignored that were straining at the surface, ready to erupt.
To clear his head he looked up at the sky as he always did at home, but the foliage blocked any view there might have. Leaves were everywhere, crowding the sky and even the houses around them. He could barely see the
homes on the other side of the street.
He let go of her hand, but she barely noticed.
He tried to take a deep breath, but there was no fresh breeze coming off the Atlantic to reinvigorate him. Instead it was humid and stale and made breathing more difficult. He could feel his sweaty shirt bunching in his armpits as he walked.
After a few more steps he stopped walking.
A couple heart beats after that and she turned back to him, a concerned look on her face. He couldn’t look at her. It was too much. He loved her and she loved him, but this wasn’t him. He was endless sky, cool air and drastic changes in light.
He was going home.
(500 words including the title)