my dear, i wanted to tell you

‘How have you been?’ he murmured, after a while.
‘Cold and lonely,’ she said, with a little laugh.
They walked on.
‘Well,’ said Riley.
Then, ‘How have you been?’ she said.
‘In Hell,’ he replied. Their steps matched, muffled, as they turned towards the Broad Walk. ‘Only we’re not allowed to say.’
They walked.
Warm hands.
‘Who would have thought,’ she said, ‘that this is what we would be?’
He suddenly recalled a postcard he had received as a child, from a friend whose family had gone to Canada: ‘I am six now. Are you any older?’
He smiled, looking down. They walked on.
‘Cup of tea?’ he said. ‘Lyons? Or have you turned into one of those beer-drinking war girls? Do you need a sharp one at the Ram? Or a pink gin at the Kensington Close?’
She laughed a little. ‘Cup of tea,’ she said, and began to cry.