For Always This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Theysat on his front steps, he inching his way closer to her, reliving memories ofthe past, she sliding away from him every few seconds.

"Can we betogether?" he asked cautiously, knowing her answer.

"No."Honest. Direct. He never knew one word could have so many meanings. He never knewone word could hurt so much.

"But I love you," he whispered, andeven in the night the glimmer of hope shone through his chocolateeyes.

She looked away. Glancing at her feet, she muttered, "Hmm.That's nice."

He was baffled. How had he let this girl get insidehim? She knew the exact things to say to push his buttons. He thought of themonths before, of meeting her, of their time together.

He gotangry.

He drifted away.

Why am I so strung out? he wondered. Heknew he could have other girls. He had had other girls. But there was somethingabout her. Her face was the first thing that popped into his mind when he awoke,and the last thing he imagined before surrendering to sleep.

He wanted totell her. So badly, he wanted to tell her. There were days when he wanted her tojump inside his head and read his thoughts, to know exactly what he was feelingwithout him saying a word.

How he wished she knew. How he wished she knewthat he wanted to hold her, but more important, how he longed for her to feel thesame way.

Wasn't it only a few months ago that she had? Then, theirconversations were not filled with comments like "You're such an idiot"and "I never want to speak to you again." It had only been a few monthsago when she had told him she loved him. Or had he dreamt that, too?

Itwas the world of his dreams where his soul really took flight. There, they weretogether. He could laugh, and there were no rain clouds to put a damper oneverything good in his life. The life he made inside his head sometimes seemedmore real than the life outside.

Why did people always smile more in hisdream world? Why were songs always sung and dances danced so much more radiantly?How he wished that his life was like that. How he yearned for the day when he didnot have to make up his own world to be happy.

He'd given up explaininghis dream world to others. He tried telling his friends, but they just made weirdfaces and occasionally threw in an uncomfortable "Be realistic" or"Uh, dude, you're insane."

But he didn't find it insane, not atall. He found the real world insane. He wished he could live in his dreams,surrounded by everything he loved.

As much as he loved her, he had nevertold her about his dream world. He was too afraid of losing her. Just thinking ofgoing on without her after everything that had happened was too much for him tohandle. He couldn't fathom a life without her; she was his lifesupport.

She gave him a sideways glance, wondering what he was thinking,what was putting that glassy-eyed look on his face.

He came bursting backto reality. He was next to her once more, though her body was much farther awaythan he remembered.

"What were you thinking, just now?" shetentatively asked.

"You ..." he began, but he stopped."Oh, you know, just stuff. No, nothing really."

She sighed, andcradled one hand in the other, absently gazing at herfingernails.

"So ..." she finally spoke.

Afraid he wasboring her, he let his heart do the talking for once.

"You,alright? You."

"Me?" she asked slowly.

"Yes, you! I can't help but think of you. I'm so wrapped up in everythingabout you that I don't even have room to begin to think of anything else. Myhead's so full of you, how can you even picture there being space for anythingelse? But oh, that's right, you don't even care, do you?"

He lookedaway. "I will not break down, I will not let her see me cry," he said,his voice barely a murmur.

"I guess it's true then. You really don'tcare anymore ..."

He started to get up, brushing the dust from hispants, and headed for his door. She sighed again, reaching for his pant leg andbeckoning him back.

"Where are you going? Come back and sitdown."

She patted the space beside her, giggling as he pretended tosit on her lap. He sat beside her as she rested her head on his shoulder,shivering from the wind.

"This is nice," he began. "I couldget used to this." His smile flickered, waiting for her response.

Sheblurted, "Yea, well, don't."

With that, he started to get upagain.

"Max, you loser, where are you going?" shedemanded.

This was it. But as much as he wanted to tell her off, as muchas he wanted to scream every curse he had ever heard, her eyes told him no. Hereyes seemed dark. The life was gone, the life he had fallen in lovewith.

"Anna, I'm going to go."

"No," shebarked.

He couldn't take it anymore.

"Alright, enough isenough. I'm

serious, Anna. I'm not a toy. I may have let myself be in thepast, but I just can't take it. I can't play your silly games anymore. Believe itor not, I do have feelings, and yeah, I'll admit it, I'll yell it out into thenight, I'll sing it in the streets, I'll scream it at the top of my lungs - Istill have feelings for you."

As if he had mustered all his strengthin speaking so, he slouched to the ground at her feet.

"I don't knowwhat to do anymore, Anna ..." He groaned. Why did it hurt so much? He felthimself drifting.

He saw himself and Anna running through a field. Pantingfrom exhaustion, coming upon the old white house. Sneaking around through thegate where the wild gardens grew, he saw the massive tree's branches swaying inthe early evening breeze.

He saw them sitting on the highest branch,carving "M + A for life" into the trunk. He smiled at the night sky, asthe moonbeams glittered off her hair, producing a halo.

He reveled in thestar-sprinkled sky, and held her hand and tenderly kissed her cheek when they sawa shooting star blaze across the sky.

And suddenly, he felt her armsshaking him, plummeting him back down to reality.

"Where, what?What?" he spat.

"Max, I need to know what's happening with you.Why do you keep blacking out like that? What's wrong?"

Was that adream? He didn't know anymore. But it was so real. He could recall the greengrass, could pinpoint every star in his dream world.

It was happening morefrequently, but he had never slipped away in front of anyone before. Thisterrified him.

"I don't understand, Max. What, and where? And whyaren't you answering me? Are you okay? I'm so sorry, Max. I do love you. I do ...I don't want to ever to lose you. I promise, it will be different. I love you,Max." Her voice was trembling as she started to cry. She sat with him on theground, entangling her hand with his. "I don't know what's happening, butyou're scaring me. Please, Max, I need you."

Afraid of her own words,she shook him again. He finally regained consciousness.

"Hey,baby," he said barely audibly.

"Max!"

"Oh,Anna. I've wanted to tell you."

"Tell mewhat?"

"Anna, when I am sad, when I'm alone, I goaway."

She nodded slowly. "You go, away?"

It wastime she knew. It was time she knew. He kept repeating it to himself, building upcourage.

"Yes, I go away. I go inside myself. I have this world I'vecreated, my dream world. But it's so real. Everyone is there, you, my parents.It's where I go when I have nowhere else to turn. And it's where I always want tobe, it's where you and I are together, can be together, foralways."

She shook her head, confused, but somehowunderstanding.

"I drift in and out of my dream world at least once ortwice a day. It happens when I'm at my angriest, or my saddest. I can't stopmyself. It's the only way I can cope, dreaming for the best. But now it'shappening more and more. And, what I want, what I've always wanted, was ..."He couldn't bring himself to say the words.

"Max, I am so sorry foreverything," Anna tried to encourage him. "I'm sorry I pushed you away,that I didn't give us another chance. I was so scared of someone actually lovingme that I had to run. There's nothing else I can say except, I love you. Max, Ilove you." The tears capturing her voice now, she wrapped her arms aroundhim.

This was it, he thought. It really was now ornever.

"Anna, come back with me. Come with me to my dream world. Ican make you happy. I can be everything you need. All you have to say is yes, andI will never let anything bad happen to you. All you have to do is love me like Ilove you. Like I've always loved you."

She lifted her head, gazed atthe sky for a moment, and looked into his eyes. Max's caring eyes, eyes thatwould be there for her, for always, and she smiled, a smile of hope, maybe. Asmile that seemed to make everything alright again. She saw his lips turning up,a smiling forming, and as she laid a kiss on his lips, she felt herself spinning,spiraling away from earth, feeling billowing clouds of smoke forming around her,and she saw his dream.

And as they both drifted away, into Max's world,and now Anna's, clutching each other, he whispered his

undyingtestament.

"Anna, I'll love you, for

always ..."




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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LostAngel said...
Feb. 19, 2010 at 4:16 pm
I'm so depressed that the author to this is Unknown. I need more! I got goosebumps and butterflies and almost started crying. And you probly will be hearing this alot but I am 100% not kidding when I say this was the best thing I have ever read! Thank you for sharing, whoever you are
 
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