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Zack Mar 2019
"We've gotta get you a hat that actually matches your clothes!" she said playfully, flopping her elbows onto the counter of the bookstore register, and leaning onto her hands with a big smile that could have stopped my heart
(surely it was pumping blood overtime this day)

It is a haunting smile. It follows me everywhere I go. Over time I've thought of it less than before, though it lingers like a phantom whose presence I've grown to accept; that I must accept.
It is attached to me and will not loosen its grip. I hope it never does.

Sometimes I can see it when I close my eyes. It's somewhere far away from here, standing at the foot of a porch as it beams down from above me. I lift my gaze and the eyes that catch mine are like obsidian--dark as night, but reflective and beautiful, full of life and mystery; captivating.

The clouds part and we're stricken by holy daylight. Do I really have to leave? Can't I just stay here forever?
I squint as a huge gust of wind kicks up the dirt and our hair and her lovely white sundress, now dancing in the breeze like a pale apparition.

She's handing me a packed lunch and she holds me tight before sending me on my way. I squeeze back and close my eyes. This is my home, I don't want to leave my home.
I feel the wind sweeping away the earth around me, like a fading memory. Somewhere in the distance I hear a soft echo: "I love you, I love you too."

I open my eyes. There's nobody behind the counter of the bookstore register now. The wall stares back awkwardly, pitifully--almost mocking me. The dreadful amalgam of dull, dusty wood and pallid beige wallpaper looks obscene and out of place;
I'm not used to this view being unobscured.

I take a breath and one last glance in vain.
And as I turn to exit, I can still see the glint of a crooked white grin
cutting through the void.

— The End —