She had told her father that if he'd ever became an addict who put his habit before his family, that she would leave, and that

She had told her father that if he'd ever became an addict who put his habit before his family, that she would leave, and that they'd never find her. Today, he did just that. She sat home thinking about how stupid she was. When she went out with her Mom to walk the dogs she told her that if it happened again, she'd leave and make sure that she was the only one who knew where she was. She saw something in her Mom's eyes flicker in a knowing manner.

Her Mom knew she had fallen for the boy, the one with the big doe eyes, and the smile that twinkled even in the darkest of nights. She knew that she would run to him, even though eleven long years separated their ages. She knew her daughter with the heart of gold, didn't care.

She remembered the day she first met him, vaguely. She ran down the stairs in knee high socks, and it started a downward spiral into something transcendent. Then came the day he said he was leaving. Going back home. She swore that anyone could have seen her heart break. It was right there on her face. She cried and defended him when they said he wouldn't come back, and he did come back.

Something was different but settled again, and finally felt normal. Better than normal, and she relished the fact that she had him back. She swore that she was born to take care of him and love him, but she'd never tell him. Her Mom asked her all the time, if there was something going on. She said that she could see it when they looked at each other, and that apparently, everyone else could too. There was nothing going on between them. But she was in way too deep for her own good, and even seeing him smile made her heart leap.

Then the snow came. She was the happiest she had ever been even though there was no reason for it. They had snowball fights, and went shopping and got cherry pits frozen to the car. She laughed, she smiled, and she was complete. She was happy. They were never together and she had regretted it, but she had loved him.

The snow melted, again, and then he said that he had to leave, again. She saw the look on his face after he had told her. He saw that she was hurting. Only days before, he had been fighting with someone and threatening to leave, and it broke her heart. Every time she'd cried in front of him, he'd asked whose ass he had to kick, but this time, he had made her cry, and rather than kick his own ass, he cried too. Did he love her? She wasn't sure. She still isn't sure. Did she love him? Yes, and she always would.

Did it matter? No.

She knew he was wrong for her. He was too old, with a daughter and a drug problem, just like her father. But for some reason she was willing to overlook that, and it broke her heart to watch him leave that day. Something in the air told her he wouldn't be back when he said, something about that last phone call, and something about the sound of his voice. Pure sorrow.

He was gone, and she was broken.