they walked along the beach
her arm looped around his
his arm pressed against her right breast
she stopped walking and faced him
kissed him on the lips, 
her arms around his neck.
all this seemed casual, natural
almost routine.

the physical contact 
did not set her off
like all the previous ones did
she was incapable
of something as simple as this
after the incident of her childhood
that left her broken.

every guy she met
she pushed away after a date or two
holding hands sent shivers down her spine
she jumped with fear
even after an accidental touch.
until the day she met him.

it was a panic attack 
that brought them together
he was in pain
and she was the one taking care. 
seeing him vulnerable 
made her momentarily forget her own pain
soothing words
and a hand over his shoulder
until the episode was over
changed her life forever.
he grasped her hand,
as he tried to breathe 
it startled her for a moment
but then she let him.

it was as if 
all the cobwebs were cleared 
the dark clouds hovering over her life
gave way to sunshine.
it was not love at first sight
but an accidental meeting
turned into something beautiful
because she allowed and he cared.

it was not …
‘and they lived happily ever after’
it was a hard and long journey
days of therapy and nights of nightmares
but she survived because of him.
a simple gesture of fingers intertwined
touching of hands as they washed dishes
tucking a strand of hair behind her ear
and a light kiss on her cheek
went a long way in making her feel safe.

and now, here they were 
kissing on the beach 
her heart thudding against her ribcage
which always indicated panic before 
but now, 
it meant she was falling in love with this man.
all this was possible,
because of his patience and understanding
and belief that she deserved a chance.

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