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If It Was Meant to Be
It would be ten years before it finally dawned on you what really happened that day. By then, I would be married with children, with a home and a husband. You would be wandering the world looking for new ideas, new stories, new places that would take you away.
We had been kids then--kids without a worry, kids without a care. It was you who taught me that loving life didn't mean doing what people told you too--it was appreciating the things that just passed you by. The little things. And it was you who showed me the many different colors of life, you who chased away what seemed to be the never ending ocean of blue.
And I was the one who taught you that there are some things you have to take seriously, and not make a joke about. That sometimes, it's not what we say that matters--it's the things we leave unsaid that can affect us the most. That when you learned to share your pains, and let me help you when your father took to beating you when your mother didn't come home some nights. You slept over at my house more times than I could count that year, and though your scars didn't heal I knew your heart did, even if it was only bandaged for the time being.
We both grew up, and we both learned to depend on each other. But at the same time, we learned that we couldn't be together forever. As our time in middle school ended, and high school began to pass just as quickly, I was the one who realized we had to let go of one another.
There was so much I wanted to tell you, so much I wanted to keep the same. Those many summer days where we just spent time at the river, pretending we were pirates and runaways...the first and last time we ditched class to spend it at the carnival...and then leaning against you as you would read your latest story out loud in the park, your voice the only lullaby I needed to go to sleep...
...but happy endings like that can't happen. You were a bird, and I had become the cage preventing you from flying free. I needed you more than I could ever admit. But I knew how much you loved the outside world, how much you longed to spread your wings and travel to see new sights. I would have set you free, and turned into a bird to fly alongside you...but then I would still be that cage.
That day, the last day of our high school life, we had gone to the roof to tell each other something important. You had let me go first, as you had always done. For the first time, I regretted it. I told you I would be moving away. You told me you would come with me, and oh, how I longed to agree with you. But I remembered the cage, and I remembered the time old saying....
I told you we had to grow up, that it was time for us to stop acting like kids. I told you I didn't need you anymore, knowing full well you still needed me. Do you remember how angry you had been? You didn't say anything after that, just turned and walked away. I wanted you to be stronger, to be free, to reach your full potential...so I let you go.
We hadn't talked once that month. The day before I was supposed to leave I heard you had won the state Writing Competition, and were going to read it at the City Council. Even though I knew I shouldn't, I went anyway. All reason and good intentions flew out the window. I just wanted to see you one more time before I had to go.
It was cowardly of me, standing at the back, being the only one out of the two of us who would hear the other's voice. And when you finished, I was among the many who applauded for you.
That was the last time I approached you. Ten years would pass before we would meet again. That day our ties had been broken, but not lost.