She goes walking sometimes, long strides mingling with a few rare skips of her was then though. Nowadays she finds that her feet get stuck in the mud. When she goes walking she'll sometimes stumble upon little remembrances the world she once knew, the before. It varies so wide that it's almost unavoidable; children laughing, the sight of white stockings, even the littlest daisy laying on the side of the path will transport her to the days when mud got caught between her fingernails and Wendla chained little crowns of flowers in the dying rays of a summer's day.

It is times like those that she wonders why she left, then she'll remember the sound of steps creeping up the stairs and the words whispered hot and ugly into the unhearing night; child, you're a beauty.

But still, it is easy to get caught up in the nostalgia. And then she might stumble into something she wishes she never knew, the place where she found him for instance, where she found that scared boy desperately aching to be a man but a corpse all the same. If only she had turned around, though she knew then he would never be hers. No, he longed for someone else's arms, and hands that had fingers worn from turning so many pages, and really she would never be his, for her eyes strayed to soft, slender fingers, cleverly crafting flower stems. She still remembers hearing the sound, but it is not the gunshot that rings through her dreams, it is the sound a body crumpling to the ground, and the sound of it reverberating through the willows. She remembers running back and his brains were hanging from the willow branches.

She looks back and thinks that that was the beginning of the end for her, for all of them really. Before any of them could blink back the tears of Moritz, Wendla too ended up joining him in the ground. And she knows that was the point when before had ended for her. For no before could exist without Wendla, there was only the after, the after that was void of Wendla's laugh, her smile, her little white dress and black stockings, her curiosity, her bright, glittering eyes which Ilse used to love looking into. She thinks sometimes that the flowers must miss her the most, her nimble fingers plucking them from the ground and tenderly crafting them into something more. With Wendla gone, the little bubble, in which all of them had lived vicariously through pirates and fairies and rainy puddles, had popped and all that was left was the cold winter night and the darkness that by now had become an old friend. The only solace she could find any more are the stars shining in the dark winter night, and sometimes if she squints and looks towards the heavens, she can pretend that she is looking into Wendla's eyes once more.