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I see the moon smiling down at me, that luminescent crescent of its former shimmering self. The Cheshire Cat’s grin, hanging in the sky long after it’s body has disappeared. That pearly, unwavering smirk reminds me of someone else, someone I’ve tried vainly to forget…
I stood, shivering in the cold, on a night not unlike tonight, staring at the same sliver of white in a velvet midnight. My breath forms small, white clouds in the air before me as my feet stamp a solid patch of snow in my impatience. I have been waiting for a while, waiting at that frozen park, under the playhouse we had almost lived in. I toss my hair and square my chin, sure that he wouldn’t remember. It was, after all, a promise made almost ten years ago. When he had found out that his family was moving, he met me for the last time under that playhouse. We had lived in that park, being knights and dragons one day, pirates and the royal navy the next. We shared a birthday, a hometown, and even lived on the same street. We did everything together, him and me. That playhouse was the base of operations, our secret hideout. When he moved, we made a promise to meet ten years later, on our birthdays, in that same spot. I had cried when he left, the tears streaming down my tiny face silently as he walked away.
“Looks like I’m the only one who remembered,” I mumble, tears falling just like that cold night ten years ago. “I shouldn’t be surprised, after all… I wouldn’t want to see me either, after what happened.” I close my eyes, the memory forcing itself to the top of my mind.
“Hey,” he whispered, sitting in our snow fort, our breath-clouds forming a warm mist around our faces. “Hey, are you listening?”
“Mmmm,” I murmured, my eyes fighting to stay open as my head drifted onto his shoulder. He shook me softly, frowning.
“What?!” I gasped, my little girl’s voice rising even higher. “You can’t! You promised, together forever, right?” I held up my finger with the scar, the tiny scar from when we signed a blood pact to be together forever. He reached over and smoothed the wrinkles from my forehead, smiling sadly.
“I won’t be gone forever,” he whispered, holding my face with both hands so I could see nothing but him. “I promise; I’ll be back. Ten years from now, when we’re seventeen. I’ll come here, and you’ll be here waiting.” I nodded, biting my lip to keep from whimpering. I couldn’t say a thing; my chest was too tight with unshed tears.
I wanted to throw a fit, crying and wailing until I couldn’t anymore, but I kept that part of me locked up, stuffed in a box. If I screamed my pain, he would feel it too, and he would be miserable. So I didn’t say a thing, but the agony shone from my eyes.
“O.k.,” I whispered. It was all I could say, anything else would show how I felt.
“So.” His head drooped, and he stood up forlornly. “See you in ten years…” He walked away, his footsteps muffled by the falling snow.
“I’ll be here!” I wanted to yell at his fading figure. “I’ll wait! Together forever!”
“But I didn’t. I never called after him, never told him…” Tears blinding me, I stumble forwards. “Never told him that I love him.”
“But you told me now,” a deep voice says from behind me. He sweeps me up in a hug, and I tilt my tearstained face upwards. “You told me now, and that’s what counts.”
“You… You came back!” I turn around in his embrace, my tears- of joy now, because the pain is gone- soaking his thin jacket.
“Of course I came, silly! You think I would forget?” He smiles, so much like the moon I saw before. I stare into his deep, warm eyes and smile.
“No. You always remember.” I manage to say before he pulls my face to his.
“Yes. I always remember,” he sighs as our lips meet.
“My prince,” I laugh. “My prince is back.