R+C by Rose Bythrow

It started out like any other love story: with a fabricated sense of pure happiness. How can anything go wrong with the music of your laugh playing on repeat in my head, with your intoxicating scent lulling me to sleep. A sleep amiss of anything but warm, poppy-filled dreams that would make any girl swoon with satisfaction. I never thought it would end like this. Not with me hating everything I ever used to love about you. Your once musical laugh echoes like an empty cave and makes me want to hide in the crevices of a place you’ll never find me. Your smell brings bile into my mouth and gives me nightmares of an empty life that would satisfy no one.

They say that summer is a time of love, and I couldn’t disagree. Summer made you radiant. So radiant it was addicting to be around you. We talked about the lighter things then, like colors and fireflies and first kisses. We would sit by the water — our toes just skimming the mark surface — and tell each other our dreams. It was like there was no end to our conversations. We were infinite and invincible and nothing else mattered but the skies in our eyes and the sand in our hands.

And then autumn came and we fell for each other like the leaves that painted the ground. The chill outside couldn’t compete because we were always warm when we found one another. If summer made you radiant, autumn made you glow. Not as bright as before, but the embers in you never grew cold. And unlike the summer, autumn made us talk of deeper things, like your consistent sadness and my tendency to draw away from people who were closest to me. Maybe it was that deepness that pulled us apart. Maybe we couldn’t accept our flaws. Maybe we should have stayed firmly planted in the summer because when winter hit, you were a snowstorm. And once a blizzard hits, there is no way to stop the damage from destroying our perfect little reality. It started out small, like snowflakes. A few missed dates here, some unanswered texts there. But the storm hit me faster than I could ever imagine. If you’ve ever had the breath knocked out of you, you would understand how I felt. Apathy clouded your vision and a rush for fame and pleasure ripped you from me. When I looked into your eyes, those clear skies of summer were gone. Lightening and darkness took their place and made me run for shelter in our once-protected cabin of safety and happiness. But when I arrived, the cabin was empty and banks of snow covered everything in sight.

I didn’t know what to do with myself. Your radiance was gone and the darkness had stolen its place. For a while, I let myself sit in your darkness. I guess I was hoping that one day you’d open the window and let that warm, healing light back in. But I left myself in that darkness so long that it began to overtake me as well. I could feel it seeping into my veins like venom. I began to crumble until I looked into the mirror and saw that I was no longer who I used to be. I was becoming those nightmares of emptiness that you used to protect me from. And once I saw my impending reality, I smashed the mirror and ran out of that dark room as fast as I could.

At first, I felt isolated and broken, and I could still see traces of that black venom running through my veins. But, in time, I’ve been able to go back to who I was before I met you. Of course I will still have scars from the daggers you threw at me, but I know now that I have grown stronger in the process. I know I could never go back to you now, even if you did let the light back into that dark room of yours, because if a storm can hit once, it can surely hit again. All I can hope is that one day you’ll be able to control your storms and bring yourself out of the darkness you created for yourself. But, until that day comes, I must stay away for fear of the cold I know I cannot protect myself from.

 

Rose Bythrow
Rose Bythrow is from Granger, Indiana. Rose just finished her first year of college at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is studying English Education and Journalism, and she hopes to teach abroad one day! She has been to 19 different countries and has lived in Paris, France. She has always been an avid reader and is always in the mood for a classic. She enjoys writing and playing music on her ukelele!

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