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He watched the mirror shatter, his reflection tearing into millions of fragments that flew around him. He took a long, hard look at the pale and haunted blue eyes staring back at him and turned away. That man couldn’t be him.
Sunlight streamed through the closed shutters, the little beams of light reflecting off the shards on the floor and setting his room alight with millions of sparkles dancing across the walls. In that moment everything was clear- something about the plain old study changed. The colors became more vivid, clearer. Then the moment was gone, the light passing through with only a twinkle here and there to remind him of it. Much like Aliza, who he would never get back.
He fell to the ground, already picking up the pieces and squeezing them in his hand. He’d made the mess, and who else was there but him to clean it up?
The silence around him was deafening. He needed something, anything to keep him from the edge of insanity. Being there alone was almost too much for him to take. Suddenly, he knew what to do.
“Nature's first green is gold,” he murmured, the line flowing out of his parched lips. His palm felt heavy. Suddenly she was beside him, murmuring her favorite poem with him. He closed his eyes, and he could almost feel her feather- light dark hair tickling his chin. But then he opened his eyes, and reality came back to him. His hand clenched tighter around the shards.
“Her hardest hue to hold.” The blood trickled down his palm. Too much blood had been shed already. “Her early leaf's a flower.”
The last of the sun set, and he was engulfed in near darkness. Only the frail light of his neighbor provided any sight. But still he did not cease, continuing to pick up the mess he had made.
“But only so an hour.” A single tear dropped to the floor, swirling with the small pool of red. Again she was beside him, this time easing his grip on the broken pieces and ghosting her fingers along his hand.
“Then leaf subsides to leaf,” When had those dark brown eyes last gazed on him? He feared he would never see them again. Now there was just silence in the house as he hesitated. Dare he finish?
“So Eden sank to grief.” Suddenly her presence, which had seemed so real to him, vanished. His hand tightened, and the blood snaked its way down his arm once more.
“So dawn goes down to day.” Everything he loved about her rushed at him at full speed. The way her nose crinkled when she smiled, the way she talked when she was sad- it came poured out of the crevices and crooks of his mind where he had tried to hide them. Now he found he didn’t want to even as the tears, unbidden and unrestrained, flowed out of him.
“Nothing gold can stay.” His breath slowed as the poem ended. Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost, had been her favorite. The gold star of David, sewn onto her jacket, rose into his mind as a giant snake and dissipated all other thoughts. All the memories they’d shared, all the secrets they’d told- none of that stood a chance against this awful and formidable foe, and he knew it.
He stood, his knees creaking. His hands were full of broken mirror, and his heart was filled with shattered hopes.





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