Now, on her final day in Oxford, she watched Harry walk down the street and didn’t call out to him.
In the crowds of students all dressed in the same sub fusc of black clothes, mortarboard and white shirt, he stood out as if he was the only man in the whole town. Her eyes widened as she admired the familiarity of his figure. But she hadn’t wanted to see him today.
She didn’t want to say goodbye. Didn’t want to listen to promises about staying in touch and to desperately hope for them to be true. The reality of eternal friendship really meant the odd ‘liked’ photo on Facebook.
She looked up at the sky, tried to appreciate the beauty of the spires of Oxford. It was a sight that she might never see again. Her immediate future involved an education at Harvard. She had relatives in Massachusetts, there was research at Harvard in her main area of interest, and she had had lots of positive contact with the professor leading it. It was already half settled that if things went well, she would stay in the USA. When would she ever have enough time, opportunity, or luck to see Oxford in all its majesty on a clear, warm day like today?
Still her gaze returned to Harry, no matter how much she told her heart to let go of him. The more permanent beauties of the city were nothing to her when Harry was near. Or rather, they were integrated in his charms. Oxford was special because it was the perfect setting for all the time she spent with Harry. The city proudly possessed an intoxicating mix of standard high street shops, ramshackle student hangouts that changed their name every couple of months, bookshops that hosted Shakespeare productions, and cinemas with late night showings of subtitled films boasting unpronounceable names. Then there were the smells of the covered markets, with the dead eyes of pig heads in butcher’s shops, staring at boutique handcrafted jewellery. All of it dominated by the grand century-old colleges.
Alice would miss it. But as she stared at Harry’s back, it was clear what she’d miss most about her university life.
Then Harry turned and saw her.