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You Faded Away m4w 72

13 Years Ago

When we were small and innocent, we played every day together. The meeting place was always by that willow tree at the end of the street, just outside of town. There we snuck away into the forests where no one would remember us. The days were long and endless, the sun shined bright on our faces, and we imagined ourselves to be in some distant land.

One day I asked you, "When will you marry me?"

In that typical girlish giggle, you laughed. Your hair was a bright golden hue that seemed to brighten the sun, not the other way around. You told me we were too young to get married, we had so much ahead of us, and how could we possibly know the future.

I told you that whatever the future had in store, I didn't want to live it alone. I wanted to see through every new day with you.

Time did pass over those happy days. We grew up. My legs grew like stalks and despite my rugged, vigorous demeanor, my body was too tall, and my face littered with acne. You, however, you never changed. Your hair grew longer, prettier, and your eyes a deeper hue. Nature destined your entire being to be beautiful. We were still friends then, but still in secret, away from everyone else.

I envied your popular boyfriend. I vowed that one day I would win you over for good, for I was your true, destined soul mate. And so, those days in high school, I would help you at home with your homework still away from the eyes of the world. I was working a night job, my parents had divorced, and I was trying my best to support the family. I must admit that back then, I was quite a dirty being.

Nevertheless, I asked you once more. "When will you marry me?"

And of course came a similar reply. You reminded me of my class, my stature, and how her parents would never agree to it.

So while the days flew by and those dark years passed over, we went our separate ways. I finally got my chance to study and become a doctor, and I had no idea what had happened to you. During that time, my mind was in ecstasy over new things, new information, new people, and the notion of respect and reputation. I went abroad for some time.

Then Christmas rolled around and I returned home to see my folks. I found myself meandering the streets one night, while that powdery, fluffy snow fell on my face. Each flake covered a part of my body, slowly burying me alive. Suddenly, across the way, you appeared. You were buried as well. And in those moments we ran to each other, hugged, and shed our tears.

My heart once again filled with love and compassion. We talked all night over hot cocoa and a warm fire.

The question came without a doubt. "When will you marry me?"

The response was not unexpected. You had a husband, the star football player, and a child was on the way. Besides, didn't I live on the other side of the country?

I told you that whatever the future had in store, I didn't want to live it alone. I wanted to see through every new day with you.

The mind ages and the heart forgets. I took on a wife and family of my own, got that beautiful house with the pretty white picket fence. I started my own charity for the continuation of my overseas work, took over a large practice in a hospital, and was known by almost everyone in town. My acne of course had left my face, my body filled out, and I was man. For many years I lived this life, this beautiful lie that betrayed my true, tortured self.

Still many, many, years later I saw you once more. In that same old little town we grew up in, the one I had promised to carry you away from.

But this time there was no tears, no joy, no elation, no hug. We sat at the same table, but looked in the distance. Your husband had obviously beaten you looking at the scars on your face. He must not have made the pro league. You were undeniably sad and lost. You were not the woman I once loved.

I didn't ask the question.

I didn't gaze into your beautiful eyes.

A number was left on the table for you, asking to call in case of emergency.

And as the tides passed and my life grew mundane, I answered that final call. Flew back to the same old town, to the place where we imagined another life.

But instead of that fantasy, there was you. Wrinkles made your face unrecognizable, those bright blue eyes had faded, and nothing was left of those beautiful golden locks. There you were, tired. Alone. Dying. You looked into my face with very little to say.

Even in that moment. I still loved you.

So I held your cold hands, taped with wires and IVs, and I leaned over to your ear and said ever so quietly,

"Will you marry me?"

Your body began to shake uncontrollably, and though your eyes looked like they desperately wanted to answer, your mouth could not speak. Shaking, shaking, your eyes began to blink and one tear streamed down the side of your face. You pressed my hand with the wires and medical tape. The beep, beep, beep, of the heart machine grew louder and louder. Your mouth began to open slowly, and air was pushing its way out, but no sound was made. The beeping held at one tone.

One tone.

And then dropped.

I closed your eyes.