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Romance

Catelynn sat on her hardwood floor, going through her box of keepsakes. Most of it was from her time in high school. It all felt forever ago. She was twenty-eight now and living on her own in a small house at the edge of town. 

She picked up a blue envelope from the box and shook out the contents into her hand. It was a simple, golden heart-shaped locket. A smile touched her lips as she rubbed her thumb over the smooth surface. Catelynn held it to her chest, closed her eyes, and resigned herself to relive the memory. 

She was sitting in the old wooden swing that hung from the oak tree at Rosen park. She was just sixteen. Her boyfriend Nathan stood behind her, pushing the swing higher and higher as she laughed. 

He grabbed the ropes on either side of her, suddenly slowing her to a stop. She turned and gave a confused smile. 

He held out his hand, revealing the locket in his palm. 

Catelynn's eyes widened, she smiled and put her hands over her mouth. “Nathan, it’s so beautiful.” She said. 

“Should I put it on?” He asked, then grinned. 

She nodded excitedly and moved her long blond hair away.

He put the locket around her neck and clipped the clasp together. 

She quickly jumped off the swing, hurried around and embraced him. 

The memory faded away, and she opened the locket. Within one side was a picture of her, and within the other was a picture of him. 

It was so long ago, but the feelings still lingered. Catelynn put the locket on, then stood and changed into her jeans, a button-up violet blouse, a black coat, and a red scarf. 

She put on her boots and headed out of the house. 

Catelynn drove her truck across town, down the country road. It was snowy out, not the hazy warm summer like the picturesque memories. But she still wanted to go back to Rosen Park. They had gone there every year since they met. It was a sort of anniversary. 

Catelynn still went there every year, always wearing the locket. Today she felt more pulled toward the place than usual.

She parked her truck, got out, and stepped through the black metal gate and into the park. The vibrant green grass was covered in a thick blanket of snow. The sky was gray and full of thick cloud cover. When he gave her the locket it had been a vivid azure blue with faint wisps of cereus.

She walked through the snow until she reached the wooden swing. She grinned as she looked at it. It was still there, hanging from the tree, though a little frayed from age. 

She wiped the snow from the seat, sat down, and kicked out her legs, making it swing lightly back and forth. 

Catelynn took off her glove and closed her eyes as she held onto the locket. 

“You know, when I saw you sitting there, I honestly thought I was imagining things.” She heard a familiar voice say. 

Catelynn opened her eyes and lifted her head to see Nathan standing in front of her, smiling. 

Her eyes widened as she fell back off the swing and tumbled into the snow. 

“Whoa, are you alright?” He asked and hurried over to her. 

“Yeah, I’m fine, but… you… what are you doing here?” She stammered. 

He held her hand and helped her back up. 

“Same as you it seems. I took a little trip down memory lane.” He replied and gestured toward the locket. 

“No, I mean, how are you here?” Catelynn said with drawn brows. 

Nathan sighed and ran his fingers through his bangs. 

“Ah, that, I see… I needed to talk to you.” 

“But you can’t be here… there is no way you can be here… not unless my mind is just imagining things… Nathan, you died twelve years ago… only a week after you gave me this.” She held up the locket. 

Catelynn remembered it all very clearly. They were in the car together, and a drunk driver hit them coming from the left. 

She survived, Nathan was killed. He took blunt force trauma to the head.

She shut her eyes tightly at the memories. 

She felt Nathan’s hands on her shoulders and opened her eyes to see him smiling. 

“I know it has been difficult, and all of this is rather unconventional, but I really need to talk to you, so can we just hang out here like old times?” He asked. 

Catelynn did not understand any of this, but she nodded. He was still Nathan, the way he spoke and his way of not being able to act seriously. 

She sat in the swing, and he pushed her from behind. 

“So, you’re back again because you wanted to talk to me? I could have used that twelve years ago.” 

Nathan laughed slightly. “Listen, I don't have much time, so I’m going to get to the point. I’m here now to tell you… you need to let me go.” 

Catelynn’s chest tightened, and she used her feet to stop the swing. She wanted to say something, but she could not bring herself to speak. 

“Catelynn, it has been twelve years, and you have not dated anyone. You have been pushing people away. You have not let yourself be happy. I know that what happened to us left scars that will never fully heal, but you can not let that stop you from moving on. What happened should not stop you from living. You deserve to be happy.” 

Catelynn stood up and turned around with tear brimmed eyes. 

“No I don’t, I should have been the one that died. Not you. When I woke up, you were just… gone. There was no reason. You were just lost to me and everyone that loved you forever. I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye. I was completely powerless to stop it or to fix it.”

“Catelynn, what happened, happened. I do not blame you, and you should not blame yourself. If you can not move on for yourself, do it for me, but after that, please start living for yourself. I love you Catelynn, I will always love you. It's time now, just let me go.” 

Catelynn took in a deep breath then let it out as tears fell down her cheeks. 

“I love you, but I can not promise to move on all at once, I’ll try. every day, little by little, I will start to move on.” 

Nathan smiled. “Goodbye, Catelynn.”

“Goodbye, Nathan.” She hurried around the swing and embraced him. She shut her eyes tightly, and when she opened them, he was gone. 

Her arms fell back at her sides, and she smiled. 

Catelynn returned home, took out her box of keepsakes from under the bed then put the Locket within. This time it would stay there with the rest of her memories. 

“Little by little.” She whispered. 

August 11, 2020 21:47

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7 comments

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05:38 Sep 01, 2020

I loved the plot twist!

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Sabrina
01:27 Sep 02, 2020

Thank you. :)

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01:36 Sep 02, 2020

no, problem!

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✰ Jessica ✰
00:25 Aug 22, 2020

This story was so sad and touching. Nice twist on the prompt! I would love to read some more stories from you.

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Sabrina
02:58 Aug 22, 2020

Thank you so much, that means a lot. I'm glad you enjoyed my story.

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Elle Boyd
11:16 Aug 20, 2020

What a moving story. Very well-written, and it flows really well. I love the last line. Catelynn and Nathan are memorable, relatable characters. Wonderful work.

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Sabrina
19:05 Aug 20, 2020

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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