By @UnmaskedDreams


By @UnmaskedDreams

When tragedy strikes, the hardest part of moving on is learning to forgive yourself.

Chapter 18


Solitude — “the state of being or living alone”

Two weeks after camp


Alyssa breathed hard. After months of being constantly forced to interact with people, this was the first time she could finally breathe. So, she took advantage of it. After all, school was already starting in a month or two and there would be no more breaks for her.

               She found herself by the park where she and Kade spent many hours together since childhood. Unlike most couples their age, they found pleasure in the silence and companionship with each other. They could spend hours in silence just enjoying one another’s presence. She found there was certain intimacy involved in enjoying silence with another. That was something she missed and longed to share with another.

               She moved along the park until she settled on the swing.

               In her mind’s eye, she could see a younger version of herself and Kade laughing and entering the park with melting ice cream cones in their hands and a careless twinkle in their eyes. Soon, she was lost in her memories. From childhood moments playing on the equipment to adolescents sitting under the tree, they replayed over and over in her mind.

               Twinkling laughter not from her own memories brought her back to the present. When she opened her eyes, she found teens much like she and Kade were once entering the park.

               She watched them for a moment. She marvelled at how the young girl laughed carefree at something the young man whispered in her ear. She watched wistfully as the young man stared at the young girl like she was his entire world.

               Pulling her instant camera out of its case, she snapped a photo of the young couple catching them in their most raw state. The girl was caught mid-laugh and the boy staring at her. The second photo caught them staring at each other with love in their eyes.

               Alyssa smiled as she saw the pictures developed.

               She got up from her spot and headed towards to the young couple. They were so wrapped up in their own world they didn’t even see her coming.

               “Hi,” Alyssa greeted them.

               The teens froze and looked up at her shyly and questioningly.

               “I’m not being a stalker, but here,” Alyssa said, handing the printed photos to the young couple.

               The young girl reached out for the pictures shyly. She looked at them before looking back up at Alyssa questioningly.

               Alyssa smiled softly. “You make a cute couple.”

               The young man choked and stuttered. “We’re not a couple.”

               Alyssa laughed as the young girl blushed.

               “He’s right,” the young girl insisted.

               Alyssa grinned. “Okay. You’re not a couple.” She paused. “But keep the pictures. A word of advice?”

               The young girl nodded slowly.

               “Treasure the moments you have with each other. Be there – no matter what the problem is. Remember who stood by you through everything,” Alyssa told them seriously.

               With one last smile at the couple, Alyssa walked away feeling lighter than she had in years.

               “Miss?” the young man called.

               Alyssa turned slightly.

               “He must be really blessed to have you,” he told her.

               Alyssa smiled sadly. “I’d like to think he was.”

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