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Elizabeth Pode

The fringes of the velvet petals brush up against the timeless bone-white bark. Her slender hand
    trembles, naked as it is without the gleaming ring she had dreamt of so often. There
    were two roses. One stark and wilting with its fleeting beauty, covering up the gaping
    scar. It was left at the graveside.

And then there was this one. Conveying all the feelings that she couldn’t put into words, laid at
    the site where they met, played, and laughed all those years ago. This is where he really
    is. Somewhere around these trees and she can feel it. The wind blows, her hair dances,
    and she knows.

Visions flash in whirls of color, fading to black and white. Two roses, two places. The graveyard
    and the woods. Two people, her and him. Two ages, two views, two beating hearts, two
    loves, two sets of blazing lungs to scream names, two worlds, two deaths. But only one
    right now.

Just one.

One hand, one heart, one mind, one soul, one rose, one tear… The days flash before her mind,
    and she remembers. One embrace, one smile, one laugh, one kiss, one lie, one hate, one
    heartbreak, one pill, one fall, one truth, one realization, one illness that took him away…

One insanity that poisons her mind.

She goes through the figures and the numbers scramble.

Eighteen years of life for him. Eighteen years, three months, and twenty-two days. For her, only
    fifteen years, eleven months, and thirteen days. She stopped counting after that. The
    sixteenth day of the ninth month of 2006 and she stopped counting, because it really
    didn’t matter anymore. 4:17 in the morning. Two hands clasped, two bodies present,
    but only one pulse. Three minute delay, one kiss on the forehead, two eyes closed.

There had been eight years without him. There had been eight years with him. He loved her
    for three years, she loved him for one. They only knew it for nine months. Two years
    of lying, keeping secrets. Four months of the truth. One funeral, six pole bearers in
    eleventh and twelfth grade. Only three days since, and she still didn’t know what she
    was going to do. Too many sleepless night to count…

One day she knew that she would come back alive. But today…

Today was a day for calculations.

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