She knows that this promise is a lie. They've all been lies of omission before. This one is deliberate. It's permanent. There's no revising history now.
Even as they kiss, as she clings to him, as he turns and steps away believing that he will return to her, she is slipping into the shell that will protect her from being alone. It is a promise, but he will not come back. She knows, but still she watches him go.
She didn't realize how much that knowledge would still hurt. She doesn't know why she didn't consider the possibility that she would never get over it.
That he would always be somewhere else. Someone else. Somewhere.
In the spring, she goes home and watches the trees and the grass and thinks about the past. She looks away from flowers and children. Spring is as good a time as any for regrets, for sinking into misery until nothing can reach her. She sees days, weeks, years, stretching ahead and there is no reason for any of them.
Her life is no less for having loved and lost, but the dark times come more often now, seem deeper and colder.
Harder to escape, like black holes. His departure was an event horizon.
The dark times are so much stronger than the bright ones. They always are, she supposes. They always have been.
It's easier to be dark than light. It requires no moral stands, only choices. Easy choices, choices that feel like falling in love. Choices that feel like hanging on, instead of letting go.
Hellos, instead of goodbyes.
Her mornings are ice water in her veins, taking away both dreams and the nightmares that are her only escape. She sleeps, she dreams, she wakes to another day alone.
They all are.