A year ago, I'd thought that things would never change, that they would always remain the same. Years would pass and Riku would be there and Kairi, and Selphie, Tidus, Wakka, and all our parents and grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts... everyone would be there and things would remain ever the same. We would grow older, get married, have children, yet the things that had always been would always will be. The sunset after a storm would always be the most beautiful sight, the taste of ice cream on the beach would be the most delicious experience, and playing in the water after a long day at school would always be fun and never shadowed by doubt or marred by the fear that it would disappear.

Riku wanted change. Riku always seems to want change.

Yet when it came and went, he seemed glad that it was gone, and still seeks the thing he seems to dislike the most. Sometimes I don't understand him, and while that's nothing new, it feels like I should understand him better. Yet I don't. I feel that this is different somehow. That my lack of understanding isn't the same as it was before. Before was out of innocence. Now... I think it is because of lack of communication. Not that I don't try to talk to him or anything, but perhaps he feels that I won't understand no matter how many words he throws at me, and that seems rather... the same.

"Don't ever change," Kairi made me promise.

Except that I broke that promise. Except that I have changed. I couldn't stay the same forever. It was a promise I was destined to break, just as she broke it, and so did Riku. The ones who have stayed the same seem so stagnant to me now. Selphie, Tidus, Wakka... they can't understand what it's like to long for something with all their hearts. They can't know the feeling of standing on a foreign beach, staring across unfamiliar waters and wondering if one day they'll return home. Except it doesn't feel like home anymore. This place I thought would never change, and didn't yet did. It did because I changed and there's no going back to what I once was. It makes me sad because I've lost something precious to me. I lost the home I once knew so well, I lost the people I'd thought I knew, and I've lost the ME I thought I knew.

A year and more ago, I'd not honestly thought anything would change, nor had I wanted it to. After all, everything was perfect. I could lay on the beach and sleep and when I wake up, Kairi would be there, Riku would be there. The islands would be there. It was security and I enjoyed it. Which is why I never put much effort into Riku's raft. I didn't honestly want to leave. Adventure was what HE wanted.

When my security was ripped away by the Darkness, I finally learned what it was to truly live, and while I regret my innocence being taken, I don't regret the journey. I never knew what I was truly capable of until I was forced to learn that life... isn't just about breathing, but about making mistakes and learning to forgive yourself for them. It's about learning to stretch yourself beyond what you think is your limits. Life is about learning to reach out for something bright and shining even if it seems millions of miles away, because life isn't the destination, it's about the journey... but to start that journey you have to change.

In my mind I see change and sameness like two people gripping hands across a gulf, holding on despite the precarious position. Sameness is them standing there, holding on despite the widening of the gulf... and acceptance of the change is them slowly letting go. I think... I think I want to let go. This place doesn't fit me anymore, though I know I will always love it, I will always love watching the sunset after a storm, and I'll always love the taste of ice cream on the beach, I'll still enjoy playing in the water after a long day at school... but this place seems like it's too small. I can't breathe like I could while on my adventures.

Yet at the same time, I don't want to leave.

So here I am, standing on the edge of the chasm, gripping Her hand, staring into the face of Destiny Islands and the life I will never lead again... and slowly letting go.