February 11, 2012
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It wasn’t about the weather. It wasn’t about the place. It was about him. Him who stood next to her—his breathing shallow, his face unreadable. She knew that something was bothering him, something wasn’t quite right. She knew him well enough to know when something was on his mind. Or at least, she used to. But the person who stood beside her wasn’t the same person she had run around with when she was young. Too much had happened, too much had changed.

No longer could they squirt each other with water guns or argue about who got to be the spy and who had to be the terrorist. This wasn’t dress up anymore; they couldn’t create their own story. No longer did they get to envision their parents’ lives and imagine the places they had seen. Dress up was over. Their fantasy turned reality was here and it was nothing like they had imagined.

The rain was hard and steady. The lightning lit up the otherwise dark cave the two had taken refuge in. She was soaking wet. Her white t-shirt had become see-through, her purple camisole darker. Her hair lay limply around her face with her natural curls partially reformed. Her arms were crossed over her chest as she gazed defiantly at the storm brewing around her. The boy stood next to her, dressed in camouflage pants, his shirt off, his right palm pushed firmly against the smooth cave wall. Those who knew the two as children would no longer recognize them.

Her hair was shorter now; she had been forced to cut it after it caught on fire during a rescue mission. It had been a traumatic experience, loosing the hair she had grown out since she was five-years-old. He had been with her then, holding her hand while she wept, watching another part of their childhood slip away. She dyed it black three days later and had yet to return it to the strawberry-blonde color she was born with.

They still talked then; they weren’t ghosts from the other’s past.

He was different now too. No longer the scrawny tall kid he had been in middle school. His arms were toned, his hair more manageable, his face filled with battle scars from the past ten years. They stood in silence, neither daring to say a word, afraid any ounce of personal connection would open old wounds. It had been three years since they had talked directly to each other, 26 months since they last wrote each other, 18 months since they had touched, 9 since either had said the others name.

It wasn’t like it used to be. They were able to push past the cooties stage, ignore the middle school teasing, make it through the high school drama. What troubled most people had no lasting affect on them. What broke them was their dream.

Saving people, traveling, adventure—it had all sounded great. But then it had come. And the parts they skipped in their fantasies—the lying, the cheating, the danger, the deaths—it all came to life. Their fantasy, their dream job, it wasn’t like it was supposed to be.

Now they stood there, silent, awkward. So much that needed to be said, so little either could say. But that was their life now, the life they had chosen as 4-year-olds. This was the life of espionage.

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