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You may never know how my heart aches for you, to be close to you, to feel you beside me. Yet, we are forced to resist, like magnets pushing farther and farther apart because of the reaction. In our case, some might say, the reaction is yours that pushes me farther, simply because you have not listened to my soul or seen how it burns with longing. If it is on my dying breath, so be it, but I will utter these three words to your ears soon: I love you.
A tear dropped onto the crumpled letter, making the word ‘love’ smear until it was a splotch of black, eating through her heart.
Ana covered her mouth with her hand and dropped her head, her golden hair covering her face. She let herself slide down the wall until she was on the ground and she drew her knees to her chest, hugging them close. Her sobs rippled through her so hard that they were silent and her shoulders shook forcefully with remorse.
She was alone in the hallway outside the room of the funeral home that the wake was being held in.
If only she’d known, if only she’d cared enough to see him, maybe she wouldn’t be here right now, with her classmates a few paces away, mourning Scott’s suicidal death. If only she’d known, maybe she would’ve been able to tell Scott how much she loved him, too.
Slowly, she stood, using the wall for support as she made her way to the double doors, her floor length black dress flowing behind her as she stepped into the December night and broke into a run.
She ran hard, her bare feet slapping the icy pavement so hard that they bled and ached along with her heart. The road welcomed her, easing on and on into the dark horizon granting her wish of being able to run forever and not look back on what she’d done.
Finally, with bleeding feet and frostbitten cheeks, she slowed and collapsed into the snow on the side of the road. Tears fell from her eyes to the crystal snow like diamonds. Beautiful diamonds that glittered brilliantly, paying no mind to the blackness inside the girl.
The blackness that ate at her with each breath, each diamond she cried and each letter of Scott’s note.
Ana got to her feet and stumbled into the woods, intending to lose herself in the silence but coming upon a stream. She stepped in, her crazed mind mesmerized by the crystalline water and the soothing sounds it murmured to her. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she could hear protesting, but she ignored it.
After a few minutes of being pulled along by the current, what remained of her sensible mind managed to pull her out of the stream and onto the icy bank. Snow began to drift down and dusted Ana’s weary body. She took a small notepad and pen from her purse and began to write. After a few minutes, she set the pen down and let herself rest.
Hush now, don’t cry, it seemed to whisper.
Ana looked up into the fathomless night sky as her body gave up the fight and stopped shivering. She no longer felt the cold, nor the blackness ablaze inside of her.
And on her last, dying breath, she whispered, “I love you.”
Two days later, after frantic searching all over the county, an officer stumbled upon Ana’s body near the stream. He shook his head, like all the others and looked away, taking a moment to calm himself before radioing another officer.
“I’ve got her,” was all his mournful voice could manage.
That day, as a paramedic came to take her body after Ana’s parents had cried and held each other close next to her lifeless form, the officer who’d found her at first noticed a piece of crumpled paper fall from her hand.
He picked it up and opened it.
Ana’s elegant writing read:
If only you knew the song my heart sings at the sound of your voice, at the sound of your beautiful words. I’m doing this now so that maybe, if I’m deserving of forgiveness, I might see your smile again, or finally be able to wrap myself in your warmth. I can feel you now, as I know my body’s failing me, I know it’s you that’s warming me and bringing comfort from this horrible, horrible cold. I want you to know, so I’ll say this on my dying breath, “I love you as I always have.”