The first time they met, or rather remembered meeting, might have been the most beautiful time. Streetlights glowed through the rainy, blue-violet dusk. They both were soaked disasters waiting for the bus to come. Dawn’s soccer uniform didn’t do anything to keep him dry. Both of them had forgotten to bring an umbrella with them to school.
Azalea was gorgeous and warm. She made Dawn feel warm despite the weather. Dawn couldn’t help but start to catch feelings, as well as a cold, that night. She stayed in his head all the time. He cherished his time at the bus stop with her.
No one ever said it out loud, but it was clear she liked him too. Everyday they grew closer, silently knowing that there was something beautiful between them.
He never did get to say it. He never got to say I love you before she was gone. He didn’t even get to say goodbye before the accident that left him cold and alone.
The second time was the most shocking meeting. They hadn’t known each other. They’d never seen each other with these eyes. But then, those eyes caught each other’s and there were these unexpected feelings. The feelings from a past life washing over, pulling them together. The feelings of once knowing the other. Memories seem to pour out of their eyes, whispering the tales of another time.
They were both more hesitant to speak this time but all it took was one word. One word to set it off. They rolled into laughful conversation like they had talked everyday.
It was so strange but so simple. They slotted in together perfectly. A day before the two would have thought themselves crazy to take a walk with a complete stranger; Yet, there they were, strolling through the park, too captivated by each other to notice the beautiful spring landscapes.
It was weird saying goodbye, not knowing why the hello had been so magnetizing. But they met again, repainting their walk through the park over and over again. Their positions shifted quickly: strangers, acquaintances, friends, closest friends. Every meeting felt more … familiar. It was as if droplets of past memories dripped through a small crack, one by one. The feeling got stronger, the smiles got brighter, and hearts were starting to open.
But Azalea never did get to show him her painting. He slipped away from her like the watercolors she used to paint his portrait. She was left with nothing of him but the very gift she never got to give him.
They thought the third time would work out. From the second the two kids met, they were inseparable. Dawn was always there, helping Azalea come up with new ideas and materials for her art. Azalea was always there, cheering Dawn on during soccer practices and games.
Elementary, middle school, high school, college; every step of the way they were tied together by some invisible string. Hand in hand, without a spoken word they loved. She was his; he was hers.
It was the morning before Dawn planned to ask. He was hesitant for years, despite the consistent thoughts that he should. It had taken him years to build up the courage and months for him to choose a ring. He had just arrived at their apartment when everything crumbled once again. He had been too late. He couldn't do anything but watch his future go up in flames with his home and love.
Life after life. Time after time. Over and over again. They were always too late. They always lost each other.
Dawn tapped his foot to the tick of the clock. He had woken up feeling ….. different. He wasn't sure what it was but it made him excited and nervous. He was jittery. He thought coffee might help but it didn't. The feeling persisted. It was almost as if something was about to happen; like, he needed to do something.
For a few moments, he tried to shake it off. Dawn knew it was probably nothing. It would be stupid of him to just run outside to do or find something he had no idea about.
Don't lose your chance. Dawn shivered. Where did that thought come from? Don't be late. He froze for a second. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Dawn exploded up from his chair. He grabbed his coat, rushing out his door. He didn't know why he was running, where he was running. The sidewalk pounded under his feet. Something pulled him forward. Perhaps it was some invisible string or force. Perhaps it was just foolish madness.
Rain started to fall, warm rain. Drop after drop, the water fell on Dawn's skin. Leaping over a puddle, he stumbled a bit, slowing down to a walk. Looking up he saw the bus stop, saw her.
She sat on an uncovered bench. She tapped her toes in the water below. The rain dripped down from her soaked black hair. She felt familiar, felt warm, felt like what he was looking for. He wanted to run over and hug her, wrap her in his arms and not let her go.
Dawn shook himself. He couldn't do that to a stranger. He couldn't just approach this random person like a creep. Oh god, he was going mad wasn't he? Laughing at himself he almost turned away.
But then she looked up.
Blue-violet eyes looked back into his green ones. A smile forced its way on his face. She stood up, leaving her stuff behind.
Dawn hadn’t even noticed he had moved closer. "Uh, Hello." He said. God, what was he doing? He looked around for a moment. There were a few shops along the street.
She laughed. "Hello."
Dawn took a deep breath to keep himself from falling apart. Her voice was angelic. She smiled, pushing her soaked hair out of her face. He wanted to protect her from the rain.
"This bus stop doesn't have very good shelter does it?" Dawn joked. "Would you let me buy you an umbrella?"
She swayed happily on the heels of her feet. "I would love that." She paused, gazing at him. "My name is Azalea."
"It's nice to meet you, Azalea. I'm Dawn." This was crazy. He shouldn't be giving his name away to a random stranger. Oh, who was he kidding? It was obvious she wasn’t just some random stranger. Azalea looked like she was feeling the same thing as he was.
Her eyes stayed on him while they walked into the most promising looking store. Thankfully, they did carry umbrellas.
“Is there one you want?”
Azalea blinked in confusion. “Oh.” She laughed, remembering why they were in the shop. She looked over the umbrella’s. Her ears glowed red and Dawn grinned at how cute she was. Azalea picked out a floral printed umbrella and Dawn paid as promised.
Golden sunshine peaked through the small crack of the curtains. Fluffy blankets were draped around the couple on the couch. Dawn let his fingers run through Azalea’s hair absentmindedly. His other arm was wrapped around her.
It hadn't taken long for their relationship to blossom. They knew from the moment they met they were special. But now after a year, they couldn’t imagine what their lives would be like without each other. It was like they were destined to be together.
Azalea shifted, waking up from her nap.
“Hey, beautiful.” Dawn whispered, kissing her temple. She wiggled around onto her side to see him.
“Hi.” She whispered back, dreamily.
“How did I ever get you to be mine?” Dawn asked, awestruck by his lover.
Azalea chuckled. “You followed your instincts.” She answered.
“I don’t think that was my instincts. I don’t know why any part of me told me to run out into the rain like that.” Dawn said, wrapping his arms around her again.
“I… I guess it was just fate then.”
“Yeah. I guess you’re soulmate and the universe just pulled us together.” Azalea said.
Dawn liked that idea. The two of them were meant to be. But he couldn’t help but feel like it could also be taken away from him at any moment. “Darling, let’s get married.”
She let out a laugh-full breath. “Of course, love.”
They swung their hands between them, matching rose quartz rings shining from both of their wedding fingers. It was a wonderful spring evening. Everything was bright and happy. The park was looking more and more like the perfect place they imagined to get married.
The wedding was set for tomorrow. They were done with everything they could prepare today so they were heading back to the hotel.
Azalea was glowing. She wanted this more than anything. She had even painted her wedding dress. Now, she was bouncing with energy.
Dawn watched her skip ahead of him, bouncing on her toes as she waited for the crossing light to change. The light across from her turned green, indicating she could go. Cars around the intersection stopped for the red light facing them.
Smiling brightly, Azalea started her trip to the other side. Dawn made it to the edge of the road by the time she was halfway across. Then, a motion caught the corner of his eye.
The world froze when he fully saw it. A car flying down the road. The light was red; the car should be slowing down. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t stopping, it wasn't slowing down. He watched it hurl through the intersection straight towards … Azalea.
Dawn’s heart pounded. Maybe it would swerve. Maybe it wouldn’t hit her.
Don’t lose her again.
His legs were moving now. He had to be faster. He couldn’t lose her this time. His hand reached her shoulder and he pulled.
The red car roared past them, missing them by less than a foot. It continued on, the mad driver not taking any time to slow down. Dawn’s heart was pounding. He could feel his fiance shaking in his hold. Keeping her in his arms, he led her to the other side of the road safely.
They collapsed on the grass, both shaken from the near-death experience.
“I- i..” Azalea gasped, trying to create rational thoughts through her fear.
“Shh. It’s okay. I’m right here. You’re okay.” Dawn whispered, hugging her closer. The couple laid there for a while, ignoring the concerned looks. They would be alright.
Dawn let his hand slide into Azalea’s. Their rings clinked together. Yes, they would be alright. He wasn’t going to lose her.