He was gone. It was now far too late for turning back and all that other sort of nonsense; she'd left, she'd made that choice of her own volition.
…But, oh, how she hated it…
At least, that's what she kept telling herself, muttering it under her breath, dreaming about it each night, his name echoing each exhale, each feeble female sigh, and it didn't surprise her at all when the other left soon after. She was alone now, all alone, living independently, finding her own means of survival; contrary to popular belief, she was a big girl now, all grown up, and she could take care of herself.
Why, then, did he plague her still? She couldn't get rid of him. Beneath all conscious thought, all efforts to start afresh, start anew, he was there, following her still, watching from the shadows of memory. His presence hovered protectively, menacingly, over her, ever still the angel and demon and the man, and, oh, God, the man…
It wasn't so much his voice that haunted her now, though, make no mistake, his voice was unlike any she had ever heard, and probably unlike any she would ever hear again. Now, his touch, unrealized in the throes of her youth, when she'd been with the other, satisfied…his touch lingered, his cold fingers caressing her skin, fiercely protective yet unbelievably gentle, very much a lover's caress…
And she had no one, no one to be with, no one to satisfy her human passions, her emotional passions, no one to hold her in her darkest hours. The darkness was always there, of course, his darkness, and even in the brightest of rooms and in the warmest of sunbeams, she could feel his stunningly dark, beautifully cold touch of his skin on hers.
Her friends were all fretfully worried, of course; at least, they would be if she had chosen to tell them. But she distanced herself from them, some welcoming the breach in contact, others concerned, but keeping silent. After all, what was it to them if she chose to withdraw? Though it surely wouldn't do for her to be alone, yet since when had it been their place to tell her so? If she enjoyed it, so be it.
It seemed that everything had been reduced to personal enjoyment; who one's friends were, the activities one engaged in…make no mistake, she immensely enjoyed remembering those days, remembering him, their voices raised in song, never to be parted. But a sort of bitterness washed over her with time, a sort of realization, perhaps, an awakening.
The spell was breaking.
But did she want it to? For what would she have, after all, what could she call her own if she let go of him, the last vestiges of her precious memories? Nothing, that's what, absolutely nothing, and she really would be alone, all alone and left to wander to the ends of the earth in search for the one thing she would never, ever be able to truly have.
So, she clung to him, figuratively, wishing desperately she could have him in the realm of the flesh as well, instead of the realm of the mind, of dark daydreams and even more shameful night visions…
She was caught up once more in it all, oblivious to the cold, solid fact that her world was unraveling, slowly, surely, and her blanket of quiet, bittersweet obsession was shrinking, growing thinner, more ravaged and uninsulative.
And one day, reality hit her, slapped her plain across her cheek, leaving a gargantuan red welt for all the world to see:
She was in love, not with a man, but a wish, a creation, a self-reflection, a figment of imagination and memory.
Nothing more than an idea.