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It’s the dead of winter. Avery warms up a cup of sleepytime tea and slowly sips it while she gets ready for bed. She washes her face, brushes her teeth, and picks out a good book to read before she falls asleep. She’s always had trouble sleeping, but tonight it was quick, like everything just felt right.
Avery walks through two big glass double doors. She’s starting her new job at a library. She’s a little nervous, her heart is beating fast and her breathing has changed slightly, but other than that, she is just excited to be surrounded by books. She stumbles in and is quickly greeted by her new boss, a short man with a bald head and dark brown eyes. He shows her to the checkout counter, “her new home,” as he calls it, and he begins to teach her how to do this job.
“I have to go to my daughter’s ballet recital soon,” he tells her. “I’ll be leaving in about ten minutes, but don’t worry, I have someone to take my place to train you when I leave.”
“Sounds great,” Avery replies.
He waves to her as he exits the double doors, and Avery politely smiles and waves back. She then feels a gentle tapping on her shoulder. She turns around and her eyes are met with a pair of beautiful green ones, eyes that look like they were created in a lab. Eyes that look like they’re made of emerald colored moss and quartz crystals.
They continue making eye contact for a few more seconds, the thoughts going through Avery’s head seeming to go through his as well. Finally, he shakes her hand and introduces himself.
“Hi, I’m Micah,” He says. “I’ll be training you today.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Avery,” She replies.
They chat for an hour, exchanging funny stories and meaningful glances, until they are finally interrupted by a customer. Micah helps Avery through this exchange, teaching her how to properly scan the book and swipe the library card. After the customer leaves, they chuckle for a little while, discussing how funny it is that they forgot they were working. After a couple of hours pass and a few more customers check out books, it’s finally time for them to close the library. Micah teaches Avery what to do, helping her with the alarm and locking the doors. He asks her if she wants to go get a drink with him, and she happily accepts the invitation.
While they stroll to Micah’s favorite bar it begins to snow. Avery recognizes how beautiful he looks when the snow hits his dark eyelashes, while also envying him for having better eyelashes than she does.
It takes them a little while before they finally arrive at the bar, due to slow walking and constant remarks on how pure and lovely the snow looks. Once they get there Micah orders them a couple of beers and they sit down at a booth and talk about their lives. Avery tells him how she grew up in North Carolina and recently moved to New York to live with her sister. He tells her his backstory, and it continues like this throughout the night. Once it gets a little later, he asks how far she lives, and tells her he’ll walk her home.
“You don’t have to do that!” She says.
“Are you kidding me?” He replies. “This town gets creepy late at night.”
They leave the bar, bundled up in coats and scarves and gloves, and they walk toward Avery’s apartment. While about halfway there, he scoots his arm a bit closer to hers, until they are holding hands. She looks up at him and smiles and he smiles back. They finally arrive at her apartment and she gives him a hug and thanks him for walking her home.
“It was my pleasure,” He says, and pushes her hair back behind her ear. He leans down and kisses her softly. When they both retreat back they’re smiling.
“I’ll see you tomorrow?” She asks.
“Sure thing.” He replies.
Avery wakes up the way she fell asleep. She feels just right, like everything has fit into place. That is, until she realizes she is wearing the exact same thing she was when she fell asleep. Her memories of last night drift away slowly at first, and then all at once. She feels like there’s something she needs to remember, someone that’s important and is worth remembering. She just doesn’t know what.
The next few months pass with Avery having this same mentality -- feeling like something is missing. She spends this time with her sister, going on shopping trips and out to eat. She fakes a smile and a laugh occasionally, but this whole time she still feels like there’s something wrong. She goes out to try to find a job. She looks at restaurants, clothing stores, coffee shops, but none of them felt like a good fit. Occasionally she would call her mom crying, telling her she felt empty and sad and didn’t know how to deal with it. Her mom recommended therapy, which Avery tried out, but didn’t feel like it did anything. She felt like there was a missing piece to the puzzle of her life, not something that was just emotional, but there was something physical missing as well. It was like she felt a phantom arm wrapped around her, or her hand being held, but there was nobody there. There was no one, but there needed to be.
The next couple of months after this are a routine blur. She wakes up, washes her face, eats breakfast, brushes her teeth, showers, tries to find a job, etc. Until one day in mid-spring, she decides to change things up a little bit.
She leaves her house on a whim. No plan, nowhere to go, all alone. She walks along the sidewalk on a crisp day, listening to music and lost in her thoughts. She walks down the main road, passing by thrift stores and new wave restaurants, unsure of where she’s quite headed, but it feels as if her feet know exactly where to go. She ends up in a park. She’s never been here before, but it feels familiar for some reason, as if she had been there in a past life. She slows her pace down when she arrives here, her body knowing this is where she was meant to end up.
She saunters slowly for a little while longer, until she arrives at a fork in the road. On the other side of this fork, there’s a young man there. He looks to be around her age, about 5’10” with brown hair and… oh my God, Avery thinks, it’s those eyes! Where do I know those eyes!?
He turns to her and their eyes meet. He sports the same longing look as she does, with a hint of confusion shown in their eyebrows. The corners of his mouth turn up into a slight smile as he begins to speak to her.
“Do I know you from somewhere?” He asks.
“I was just going to ask you the same thing,” She replies.
They move to one of the park benches and talk about this strange sensation for a while and as they continue to talk they slowly figure out where they know each other from. They discuss the library and the bar and the walk to and from. They discuss the way that they felt when they looked into each other’s eyes and how empty they have been feeling since that dream they had many months ago. They hold hands throughout this conversation, the sun slowly setting as they speak. They have no idea what their lives will be like but they know they’ll never get this empty feeling again.