Her finger traced the edge of the photograph, ran over the face of the person pictured—it had been six years, but the pain in her heart had not yet faded. Though he was not gone from the world, every day felt as though she had buried him instead of having been left by him. His absence had left a hole in her soul, a single piece of the puzzle that was lost and she could never regain, never find again.
She had no idea where he was, and she knew that even if she attempted to find him, it would lead nowhere. He had made his mind up, his decision rather clear—though he loved her, he could not be with her, and he could not bear to see her again. He had left in the morning, having gathered all of his things in the weeks proceeding his departure, and had given her a final kiss. There was so much longing, so much tenderness, in that single gesture that she wished she had stopped him; even years later, as she sat on her porch as the sun rose over the trees, casting its yellow rays through the branches, she remembered the feeling of his lips on hers.
There was no point in daydreaming, in recalling those lost feelings and thoughts from a life she had left behind. There was no point in longing for a person who, most likely, never thought of her—but, even though she knew she had to let go, she could not bring herself to drop the photograph, to burn the letters, to erase his voice and his smile and his eyes from her memory. All of the pain these images, these memories, brought her could not, and would not, inspire her to forget the time they had shared.
He had finished the puzzle that was her soul, he had found all of the scattered and lost pieces of her mind and had glued them back together with his gentle touches and soft kisses. He had been the one, and just as she had always known would happen, he left. He left when he had realised that she was too broken, even after having brought her shattered pieces together, and it was too much for him. But he was not weak, she was just too complicated.
She had always known that she was not meant for the fairy tale happy ending—from a young age, she knew that she would end up alone. But it was the fact that she had found that love, that one person who completed her, and she had lost him. It broke her. She would never be the same again.
She set the photograph on the table and took a sip of her tea, watching as the shadows of the trees played and danced in the sunlight, as the soft breeze moved the branches—movement to her right drew her attention away from the scenery and to a figure standing just outside of the makeshift fence.
He had changed little since the day he had left—his eyes still held the mischief that had first drawn her to him, and his lips still pulled up on one side in a grin. He gave her a gentle wink with a nod, which sent a chill down her spine.
It had been six years, but there he stood, in his uniform, his bag slung over his shoulder, and it was as if no time had passed. It was as if he had never left, never said goodbye. He had found his way back to her, found her in the depths of the forest in a foreign land. She ran to him, opened the gate, and jumped into his arms. Her tears soaked his shirt, her sobs drowned out his calming whispers. She would never let go of him, she would never leave his side.

Perhaps, against all odds, against all of her feelings of being inadequate, she was meant for a fairy tale love after all…


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