Disclaimer: The Notebook © Nicholas Sparks

She was like a caterpillar.

From the second he met her, at that carnival over seven years ago, she managed to crawl her way right into his heart, where she resided peacefully and comfortably, and where she slowly but surely grew into a gorgeous, free-spirited butterfly.

Just like their relationship.

It started off cold and small, with her rejecting him at first, thinking he was nothing but a crazy fool when he jumped off the seat of that old Ferris wheel and literally put his own life in danger just so she'd agreed to go out with him.

And then it slowly wrapped up inside a cocoon, from their very first date, when they held each other close and danced in the dark, quiet street. It rapidly began to grow from there throughout their summer together. It was sweet and fun and passionate and exciting and beautiful and every other amazing feeling one could ever feel.

And then, as the summer came to an end, the cocoon broke, and out came a beautiful, delicate, tiny butterfly.

It was her. It was Allie Hamilton. She fluttered away from him after that perfect summer. She flew away like a flash, gone in the blink of an eye, before he even had the chance to say goodbye. She left to start her new life in the city, the place where she belonged, and there was nothing he could about it.

But that broken, ripped up cocoon was left behind. It was Noah Calhoun. Left with nothing but the memories of her. How could he ever get over her, after everything they'd been through over that summer, after they'd opened their hearts to one another and shared such wonderful times together?

That was the thing. He couldn't get over her.

So he wrote to her. Once a day, every day, for 365 days in a row.

But he never heard from her, and thus, he wrote her one final letter on that last day. He told her how he truly felt about her, that she'd left a fire burning in his heart, and that the love she'd given him had him reaching for more. Just as he'd always hoped to give to her.

And then, years later, on a particularly warm day, around the time he'd finished building that dream house, the same one he'd promised to her that he would one day build, she miraculously returned to him. She came back just as she did the first time they'd met, crashing right into his heart and setting his nerves on blazing fire. She was a fully grown butterfly then, no longer a baby one, but a more mature one. One with a confident smile and fancy new clothes and perfume that smelled so sweet…

…and a diamond ring on her left ring finger.

But he never gave up hope. He'd already lost her once; he'd already let her go once. Now, she was back, and he would capture her, and never let her go.

The decision was not his, though. He knew this. It was hers and only hers. It was up to her to decide what she wanted to do. He wanted to make her happy; he wanted that more than anything in the world, but he knew that he couldn't stop her if she wanted to leave again. If she'd really found happiness with this other guy, he knew that there was nothing he could do to change her mind. He could only watch her fly away again, her bright, colorful wings fluttering into the sky, reaching towards the sun.

She left a few days later. He told her how he felt about her, that he wanted to be with her, that he didn't care if they fought every day for the rest of their lives. Just as long as they were together. But she said she had to go, and then she did. And that was it.

So he did the only thing he could do. He watched her leave. She drove away, without thinking twice, driving as fast as she could to get as far away from him as possible. Her heart ached with that decision, a hollow feeling forming inside her chest, something that was just too painful to bear. She broke down, crying hysterically, right there in her car. And she read one of his letters, the final one, the one that he'd poured his entire heart into.

And she just cried and cried.

He didn't know. He thought she was gone for good. He was in that dream house, lying on his bed with a red blanket wrapped around his body. He was at a loss, no longer feeling depressed or angry. He felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was disbelief. But there was still that tiny part of him, if only a small glimmer of hope, that maybe, just maybe, he was dreaming. That he'd wake up, turn his head, and she'd by lying there next to him, her chest slowly rising and falling, her red hair cascading across her bare shoulders. And he'd kiss her softly on the nose and snuggle next to her, falling back asleep.

It was the only thing his heart longed for.

But she was gone forever.

Or so he thought.

Because then, out of nowhere, he heard a noise from outside. A car. It was a car pulling up towards the house. He immediately rolled out of bed and ran towards the balcony, his heart pounding rapidly inside his chest as he thought, Could it be?

He looked down, into the bright sunlight, and he couldn't believe his eyes. It was Allie. Beautiful and glowing, like a butterfly. She was getting her suitcases out of her car when she looked up and spotted Noah gazing down at her on the balcony. He rushed downstairs and out of the house, and Allie ran towards him, carelessly dropping her bags on the ground. She ran into Noah's open arms, and he embraced her.

It was like a dream. A perfect, romantic dream. Only this moment was even better, because it wasn't a dream. It was reality, and it was happening right now. She was here, in his arms, hugging him tightly. He felt her body quivering against his own, and he knew right away that she was crying. He squeezed her tighter, slowly rubbing his hands up and down her back. He heard her sniffling, and he could feel his t-shirt getting wet with her tears, but he didn't care. She was there, with him, right here, right now. They were together again, and they'd be together forever. He knew this, because his heart told him.

He slowly pulled away from her, and she looked up at him, her eyes red and glassy. Yet, despite that, she looked beautiful. Just like always. He smiled at her warmly before leaning down and gently pressing his lips against her forehead. She buried her face in his chest, never wanting this moment to end.

Hundreds of butterflies erupted in their stomachs, soaring into the air and carrying off into the distance, taking their hearts along with them.

It was a symbol of their love. Powerful and everlasting.