A lock of his hair, like a flickering flame, livened within the wind's grasp and the sun's looming radiance and warmth. Propelling ferociously, its ruby luster continued to promenade within the breeze. Shifting my eyes, I traced my way from the lock of his hair to his arms which beckoned the on-coming zephyr as it slithered between his fingers and up the cuffs of his button-up shirt. His eyelids, which were barely closed, buried the emeralds of his eyes like a cavern as he orchestrated the airstream to his precise specifications of the melody he so often played within his head.

As he orchestrated, swaying his hands back and forth, I felt a calming sense too soothing. Lolling in a gown so dark, it bested the twilight as we laid there on his trampoline, head first into the morning. The gown seemed to shimmer with the stars above us and for a split moment, I felt as though a part of it, as if I was wearing Orion's belt. And I pondered all of the Grecian gods and how it must feel to be immortalized and patterned into the night sky as though they were patches on a quilt. And I began to wonder how they must feel, how it must feel to be forgotten and to no longer feel the glorification of love and prayers.

We laid in complete and utter silence, contemplating the daylight before us and what it would bring. I fell into a quiet and meditative state, a sort of sleepless slumber that could be paralleled to a wonderland of Lewis Carroll's; however, I was no Alice and this, I knew, could never end happily. I envisioned an entire lifetime between us; college, our first home, the wedding, having children, growing old and dying together. Yet, I knew better than anyone that it was all just a dream, a chimera of futile proportions. It was full of impossibilities and impracticality. Yet I dreamt capriciously and despite my aptitude for the sensible, I became certain of our imminent future together, convinced of spending eternity in his arms.

We awoke to the early hours of dawn, interwoven upon the elastic, obsidian fabric. The passing few hours ahead of us were spent in quiet contemplation and few smiles. Neither of us ready to speak of the inevitable conclusion of our springtime romance. And as I departed, I looked upon him, questioning my love for him and if it would withstand the seasons we had before us, the seasons we would spend alone, pondering the other with only memories to reminisce of the gentle and warm affection that we once had for one another. I, then, walked to the car, opened the door, and fastened myself to the seat, abstaining myself from declaring any absurd notions of love. I was young and foolish, full of nonsensical intentions and reveries.

A year passed in the slowest of ways as I kept our toxic, twisted courtship close to my heart. The summer months were most distressing with my hushed daydreams continuously interrupting my thoughts and occupying my time, which I spent alone, sheltered within the boundaries of my bedroom. Too proud and apprehensive, I thought of no escape or endeavor to try to come to terms with my futile imaginings.

To be honest, I was comfortable with the world I had created all whilst lying in my bed. I counted the days as they passed by with no recollection of how I had spent them. I dreamt of his scarlet tresses and his long fingers dancing with the breeze, his classic suit and my celestial prom gown… and the kiss.

The nights were no exception to my musings, if anything they fed my imagination more and more as I pranced around my room merrily. I would recapitulate the kiss in my mind, ever so slowly, as to relive each and every moment in blissful, rapturous joy. Each time, I breathed him in and lost my breath all within a moment, his fixated gaze guiding me to his arms. And the kiss, a most passionate, fervent kiss: a kiss that could spark a thousand of those tiny little stars that lit up the clouded, somber skies! Not in all of my existence would I ever happen upon such a kiss as the one he gave me. I lost myself within it, all the while striving scrupulously to isolate every sensation I was aware of. I wanted to remember it forever so that I, when alone, could recall that precise moment as to promenade with it and believe that it was so much more than a memory.

How I coveted for his long fingers to embrace mine once again. My hands seemed so cold without his overlapping mine. I was as pale as a ghost and so was he, mind you; however, together, our palms did us justice and gave us such a weight, such a worth, that a ghost could never identify with. And though the morning before my departure was not as loving or as passionate as I had wished, I would always remember the night and the ritzy carousel lights that had promenaded before us like spinning wheels across a sugarcoated sky.

God, was he beautiful, prancing around those carnival rides, anticipating my every move. Oh, that sugarcoated sky was nothing more than a backdrop to something ever more miraculous: the kiss, our kiss, that lit up the night like a thousand paper lanterns held down to the earth by one single, solitary string. He was my yard of thread when every part of me wanted to ascend to the heavens and thank God for such a wondrous kiss.

How I long for those merry-go-round stallions to have been real, to have been able to steal me away out to the countryside of some enchanted land kingdom where he and I could have lived forever without the restrictions of propriety and decorum. But there was once a time of princesses and pirates and candy-colored clouds; that time is gone now, forever gone. That land had existed when I was a young girl, it exists no more. A part of me wishes that I knew better than to dream of such yet I know now that if I had not, there would be no happy memories, only sad, painful wishes and an irrevocably broken heart. I needed those happy memories and daydreams then to keep me hopeful and buoyant, to keep my heart beating and my cheeks rosy.

The winter months had approached faster than I had anticipated and the lovely, whimsical world I had created became more and more glacial as my eyes shed the constant torrential downpour, an ever present reminder of the pain I had inflicted upon myself. During such times, I thought of him the most, if at all possible… I thought of him always. At times, I imagined he was there and somehow, in some small way, our time spent apart became more tolerable.

Seldom would I wake to find him in my bed, lying beside me, arms holding me as if he was mine and I was his. At times, I would lie there in my room and pretend it was him that I was sleeping on. And the blankets… those were his arms, holding me, never tiring, never ceasing to let me go. I nestled myself within those blankets, doing all I could to feel the warmth of his body next to mine. As I rested there, I recall feeling sorrow not so humbly wretched. My bed was a constant indication of the time I spent deliberately alone.

Sometimes, I imagined him positioned by my window, peering out into the desolate wildwood layered with sheets of snowfall. The leaves were long gone as was any cheerfulness, only austerity lived there now. The branches seemed to reach out to my window, scratching upon the glass, beckoning me to their malignant tundra. In the summertime, the trees were so beautiful with their leaves and luscious fruits, so welcoming and warm. Only during the winter nights, did I see the hideousness, the sinister enticement. A part of me wanted to venture out, lose myself within the wild winter night. I wanted to be found in the deserted wastelands across from the windowpane. Despite my yearnings, I did not for I could hear the wolves from my bedroom. Such hominine creatures they are with their vicious, murderous bellowings, their forlorn howls to the moon. I wonder if the moon ever cried back. I suppose it cannot. It is only a moon, a large luminous rock perched over the night sky.

Other times, he would stand beside the door, waiting for me with his platonic, reassuring smile and guiding hand. A part of me knew that he wanted me to be happy, to live without his memories. I knew I needed to replace these memories with new ones. I needed to find someone who could be with me rather than only want to be but I was not ready. I couldn't live without him just yet. So I continued to dream my days and nights into devoted oblivion.

Not every morning was I so lucky to be with him, even in my mind. Most days, I continued my day normally. I would finish making my bed, I would get dressed, and I would leave for school, all the while his quixotic whispers that I had arranged for him to say would echo in my head. Yet other days, I would just lay there in complete incredulity of how I had made it that far… it had been one whole year without him, one whole year. It was June again, after all. The winter months had passed tortuously into the spring and the spring had rushed by without a fleeting feeling within my dismal, dreary state of consciousness.

Despite that I dreamt of his love incessantly, the truth remained that although I was his, body and soul; he was, in fact, not mine. He belonged to the years that he had mapped out for himself. He and his wonderful ambitions would take him away from me, to places I could not follow. I always knew college and his vision would take him away from me and I always knew that I could never fit into his vision, his dream to change the world. Yet I was determined and headstrong to change his mind, to prove him wrong time and time again. I would not let my heart become discouraged. It was only distance and they were only copious, vacant mornings that brought me closer to him. I would make him see how much he loved me and how much he cared.

The summertime month slowly began to dwindle down until it had become the second to the last week of June. I knew I had to muster all of my courage and venture outside of my bedroom and I did… eventually. But it was hard, so very hard, to face the world after months of passionate, agonizing destitution. It was harder still to face myself.

Yet there she stood in polka dots with a smile just as sweet as the color of her blouse, a candy apple red. Her hair, which was normally pulled up into a messy bun, was let loose in a mass of russet brown curls. She stood defiant, fully aware that she had the upper hand. Sporting her very own trademark smirk, she had her hand on her hip amiably, clearly amused.

"Courtney? Hey! I thought you had forgotten me," she had said.

I laughed to myself in the mirror and replied, "Silly boy, how could I ever forget you?"

…Oh, how pathetically wretched I was, practicing what I would say to him in the mirror. Did my dignity know no bounds? I continued to cry out and curse at God, demanding for some courage and confidence, inquiring how I could be so odd. A part of me wished to continue in fear of not knowing what to say yet it was time to go and I had to take my leave from the mirror and gather any confidence that I still retained and make do with the honest and subtle truth of the matter… which was that I was irrevocably in love with him.

It had threatened to rain, as it did every year, on that June morning, the morning of dear Samantha's graduation. I suppose it would be my brother's, as well. He was in the same year as our cousin, Samantha. As we sat waiting for the commencement to begin, I took in my surroundings, bit by bit, letting my curiosity for the monotonous locality consume me. In front of us, a large cream-colored building stood. Its mineral sandstone shone and reflected the sunlight that had smiled on it that morning. I, too, attempted a smile and replaced my habitual pout; however, all that I could muster was a sort of half-smile, half-grimace. I had promised myself and my mother that I would, at least, try to be happy.

Brandon and Samantha were the type of grandchildren that any grandparent would be proud to have. Though Brandon had his fair share of scrapes and troublesome predicaments, he was one of the star players on his locally renowned high school football team. He was the popular boy at school. The girls fawned over him and most of the boys were his friends. Being my only brother, Brandon was the only male in my house, in exception to my stepfather. He had a muscular build and a pleasing personality; however, his temper got the best of him at times. Samantha, with her long locks of golden blonde, was the artist in my family. She painted the honest and sincere depiction of the world she witnessed around her. A tad more emotional than most, she let it influence her in all of her creative pursuits and it had always come back in her favor for all of her works were masterpieces. Of average height but of slim build, Samantha was a superb runner and soccer player. As beautiful as she was brilliant, she was an honor student time and time through. Like my brother, she was popular with her fellow classmates, winning the highly coveted honor of prom queen during their junior prom.

I, on the other hand, was not one to be interested in. I was a recluse, an introvert. I preferred my time to be spent indoors. I loathed all sports and Friday night football games. I was not the most talented in the family or the prettiest. I had unruly brown hair and albino white skin. I listened to weird music and loved movies way too much. I broke all social conventions when I dyed my hair bright pink. I was, if anything, the rebel of the family.

Yet none of this occurred to me as I stood on the lawn watching as the cameras flash over and over. I smile forlornly at the faux family taking them. Some were young and insipid who were only there due to civil service to their families. Others were as devoted as ever, so proud and sure of their new graduates. How was I to know that I was the unwanted, that I was the one to be stoned today?

Graduation caps of deep violet ran through the air like kites, the white began to follow as though they were the strings, and those who had thrown them into the celebratory air stood accomplished and ready. Yet, there I stood, as though a mere spectator, while the familytook photos of the accomplished, of themselves, and of them with the accomplished as a family.

Where was I in these photos? What was I to say? They stood but two feet in front of me, embracing each other as though I was not there, as though I was not born.

It was as though my eye was to the telescope. I could marvel at such wonders, in all of their glory, yet never truly be part of them. I could never compete with such luminaries.

I watched them leave for the party joyous and proud, as though they forgot nothing, as though that day was the most perfect day. And I, I left the scene disheartened and in a blur.

They strutted around blissfully and, oh, so obliged to have such wonderful graduates, meeting and greeting, putting their art of deceit in practice. I stood, gazing indestructibly at a pond as dark and tender as my thoughts. It was quite a lot like me, in all honesty. We were both so terribly hard to read, to understand, to negotiate with and we both were part of something bigger once, not so long ago. We ran with the rivers away from the oceans we once lived amongst. And nothing, nothing would break my gaze from that desolate patch of water. I could not and would not look at them. No. I just couldn't.

They couldn't be bothered to say anything.

And he, too, could not be bothered.

I remember his mirror image reflecting off the pond, Scott's reflection… He hesitated, breathed deeply, and did absolutely nothing. Yet, still, I looked over my shoulder in hopes to catch his eye. He was quiet and lingering but when he did elevate his eyes to mine, I felt the need to pocket such a gaze, for that gaze would bring me out of the most miserable unhappiness. And for that moment, I felt whole. I felt wanted, needed, loved.

It was a light breeze that had brought us together, its' light pull holding gazes in place. And I so longed to reach out and touch his face, to whisper all of the wonderful things I had wished to tell him so long ago.

Yet such a moment could never exist except in the fervent figments of my imagination. He had looked away abruptly, ending any romantic inclination I once had. How could I believe in such a happiness? It would be a beauty to behold, I'm sure, if one ever could find it. Instead, I wallowed in self-piteous misery that had consumed the entirety of my being.

The rain had begun to fall and so, I raised my palms high, like the heavens above me, reaching out for some sort of declaration to my life. To my despair, I found nothing just the whisper of what used to be, only aerobes that fed on the breath of past recollections.

It was in this precise moment that I had realized that I could see nothing but a stranger in his eyes. I did not know him... I did not know him at all. And in that sick and twisted labyrinth of a heart he possessed, I knew there was no cavity left for me. It was fixed securely, deep within himself, as to protect himself from the likes of me. His ambiguous intentions were nothing short of cruel. And if I had known better, I would have refrained myself from meandering my way into his existence. Oh, how sick I was of lying just to catch my breath. All of the air I had breathed was done solely to speak his name. He had stolen the air right out of my chest. I was so sure of him, so sure of the life I had intended for us. I was young and foolish to believe in such fairytales. Oh, I know that now. I know much better than to aspire for the unattainable.

Again the seasons passed slowly, all the while his façade haunting me. My time was defined by a most despicable, lethargic stupor and mercy on my poor, unfortunate heart. I, at that time, was nothing but skin and bones, a fabrication of mortality. I did not eat, I refused to sleep. In attempts to brighten my dark and warped mentality, I would take a turn around the room, in hopes to spark some sort of happiness within me. What a silly idea…

I only found myself pondering self-destruction and encouraging my suicidal state of mind. I remember standing there, staring at a hanger, and listing ten ways I could kill myself with it. I was selfish and impractical to convince myself that I was alone in the world and always would be. But we are never alone, are we? There will always be that one someone who, at one time, felt the very same sick and bitter melancholy. But to be honest, I don't think anyone has those days where they wake up from a cold mattress, walk over to their closet, and imagine death scenarios but that was me; silly, miserable me.

Away from the closet, I would carry myself back to my cradle; the soles of my feet lightly dusting the dark amber floor. During those summer months, I swear, the wood appeared to be a great fire. That sparkling shine the sun created would ascend the walls, confining me within its blistering inferno of a prison. The ivory door emerged from the flames or, perhaps, it just suddenly became apparent to me. I knew if I was to survive, I would have to open it, brave the outside world, and embrace it in all of its loveliness and malice; however, another part of me wasn't ready. I couldn't leave. I wasn't ready to grow up. I did not want to leave my cradle. I wanted to burn within this home I had made for myself.

Perhaps the subconscious part of my mind knew that if I was to open that door, I would have to face them again, my family. And still, over a year later, they do not talk, not really. Their lips remain sewn of thick rusted barbwire. They wish to kiss me. Oh, I shall not let them.

They disgust me with all that they are. Truly, they need not say a word. I already know what they want from me but I shall not surrender to their satisfaction. All they know how to do is offer pretty little boxes of promises they could never keep. And I will not bow down to gluttony. I will not accept their promises of family for if I did it would not be family; it would be an act, a scripture, a mock replica of all that we were.

Sure, they try their hardest to patch things up as though I was just some old blanket worn down, old and tattered. And I must admit it does hurt, me saying no to them, yet they do not know how to love and I cannot teach them. And I refuse to be a porcelain doll on the highest corner of one of their many dusty, forgotten china cabinets. I could never diminish myself for their principles. I will not.

I can never allow myself to become a part of them again.

And yes, I suppose it is rather sad that the only gratification I obtained from life consisted only of the ways to end it. The harsh winter, the hanger, the vigorous inferno; all were archetypes of the inner anguish I could not propel outside of the walls of my bedroom. Caught by the ankle, I continued to flounder under the weight of my precedent hostility, suffocating and striving for air under the constant pressure of the sea surrounding me.

I once thought, let them be wasted. Let the years full of optimistic promise be spent in violent torment and despair. Let me degrade as I fixate my heart on him. I would rather imagine his high exalted esteem for me than accept the fact that he could never and would never be mine. I so wanted to be what he wanted and needed. I didn't know perfection could be so hard to achieve. Sounds foolish, I know, but that was me, always trying to make him happy while drowning in my wretchedness. And, even still, in the end, I just was not enough for him.

He was always running down the darkened corridors of his conscience. His love for me flickered like the wick of a candle that could easily be put out with a gentlest of touches. Yet he had always seemed oblivious to my touch. Always just out of my reach, I broaden the extent of my fingertips farther and farther only to fall short each and every time. And over time, my certainty that one day he could love me had become a maybe. Maybe one day he'll love me, maybe then he will see all of the wonderful promise time had in store for us. Yet, even now, I doubt my past aspiration entirely.

Eventually, over time, I began to heal and the wounds that I had once inflicted upon myself had scabbed over. And every once in a while, I find myself wondering what he is up to, how he has been, if he finally traveled the world like he said he would. I never have the mind to go see him though, even after I had heard of his returning home.

And somewhere only I know are photographs of our one night together, of the one night we fell in love and shared a kiss too brilliant to convey. They collect dust now, and though, I have not looked upon them for quite some time, a part of me will always want them near for that one day when I will be able to smile and acquiesce our time together mercifully.

The young girl I used to know, somehow, decomposed with time and grew to be beautiful and strong. When I think of her, I see her in a garden of wild overgrown flowers, dancing to the melodies in her head. She smiles and laughs whole-heartedly as she twirls 'round and 'round; her russet locks falling around her face and the obsidian, starry-eyed dress promenading within the salubrious wind. She breathes it in reflectively, in complete wonder of where it had come from and where it was headed. She tilts her head back, arms lifted and spread outward, permitting all to come rushing back to her senses. All too familiar with the emancipated air that she once feared so greatly, she smiles, pondering only the best of memories and casting the rest into the wind.