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She was free. Free at last, from all the pain and struggles she faced in the past year. The sunlight overhead highlighted a path of open spaces and clear futures. So she ran faster, forgetting all about him and what he did to her.

She had wanted to be pretty. She had wanted him to be happy. Somehow, the two had intertwined with one another. She remembered losing all control and hiding in the shadows for months to make him realize how much she cared. She remembered being unhappy. Being unhappy. Unhappy about things her family said. She was different than before – before she knew him. Unhappy about things he said. The other one, she, was not pretty. And she had wanted to be prettier than her. She thought that would make him happy and care for her more.

So she began hiding. She hid in the dark rooms of her house and hoped that no one was aware of what she was doing. If they knew, they would make her stop. But she couldn’t stop. Not yet. She wasn’t there yet.

She changed quickly. Her family didn’t say anything anymore. She was now the same as before. But she kept going. He wouldn’t be happy yet, she remembered thinking. She changed even more. No one said anything anymore. She didn’t know if her family noticed the great change. She hoped they didn’t. But she hoped he did. I’m doing this for him, she thought.
The others – practically her family – had not noticed anything different. She never came out of the darkness long enough for them to see. She knew they would care. They might even understand. But no, she thought, I won’t tell them. Not until I’m done. But she wasn’t done.
She remembered realizing that she needed to stop. She told him everything. She thought he would care. She thought he would help her stop. She believed the things he told her. He wanted to help her. Go places with her so she could be normal again. He wasn’t happy. But he wasn’t angry.
The others were angry. How could you do this, they said. You never needed that. Not for him. She remembered not listening to them. She told them she stopped. But she still didn’t stop. She still did it, because it made her feel better. She could have a clear conscious if she was pretty, she thought. Then she would stop, when she was pretty. That was the whole point. It was for him.
She told him everything. She was still in the shadows, but he was a light. A small light that shone perspective on the situation. It told her that she could change. A change for the better. Too much change, she remembered thinking. But it was change that brought on the problem in the first place.
She thought he cared. She thought he wanted to help her. But he wasn’t helping her. His light suddenly became darker than the shadows she was already in. She thought that she was the lowest she could go before, that she could go no lower. He was the only thing holding her up. But when he let go, she fell even more.
The others were too far away to catch her. He wouldn’t do it. Her family never knew a thing. The only thing she could do was help herself up. So she did that. She went alone to the places that were supposed to be for the two of them. She stopped hiding. She climbed back into the light. She stopped going into those rooms with secrets written on the walls. All those did were remind her of the things she did. The things she did to be pretty. To make him be happy. She didn’t feel pretty anymore. He wasn’t happy. All it did was push her farther down.
He was gone. Gone like the person she was before she knew him. But the others. The others were still there. They were now her light. Her goal. She wanted to make them happy. Because she knew if they were happy, she was happy. That was how it always was. And it worked. She aimed for that. She wasn’t there yet, but she knew she would be. And she knew that when she’s there, she will finally be happy.
She continued running, running away from her dark past, only looking to the bright future ahead. Behind her were the dark clouds. They covered up her thoughts. She wasn’t thinking clearly. Then she jumped to join the others. They were waiting for her. They always were. In the cool, clear water she finally felt happy as her problems dissolved around her.





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