There it was. A dusty, old, heart shaped cardboard box waiting under her old bed, in her old bedroom. The woman stared at it confused but still reached out for the box. She picked it up and dusted it off before sitting on her knees. She examined the medium sized box to see if it gave away any hints of who it was from or why it was there. But there was nothing but dust and more dust. She scrunched up her face, starting to become beyond curious at what was inside this mystery box. Without a second thought she lifted the lid off and placed it to the side. She waved away the small bits of dust that reached her face as she put the box back on the floor. Her eyes widened when she saw what was inside. A smile decorated her face. The woman pulled out the first item on top, an old picture. It was taken way back when she was an elementary student. The younger version of herself had a toothy grin and held her hands up in the air. She was covered in mud but the bright blue ribbon on her chest was perfectly clean. The woman's eyes shifted over to the small boy in the picture. Her best friend. The boy was pouting with the grumpiest face she's still ever seen. His second place ribbon being crumbled in his fist. She chuckled and put the picture down. She looked back in the heart shaped box and saw that underneath the first picture was another. And many more. She took the handful in her hand, her smile now reaching her ears. One photo after the other was of the two of them. He was always in some mood while she was cheerful. The woman snorted when she found a picture from the time she had accidentally tripped and pantsed the poor boy. Her chest started to feel warm as she continued to look through the pictures. They're parents being the closest of friends is what brought the two together. So naturally the two were destined to be best friends. They grew up together and spent almost everyday together. The woman let out a gasp when she came across the last picture. The happy emotion inside her faded into an aching pain. She gripped the picture tightly as she stared at the sad memory. It was the day he moved away. It was the middle of their middle school years when his grandfather passed away. His dad was meant to take over his grandfathers company so they needed to move closer. Which meant across the globe to these two best friends.
They were hugging each other so tightly and crying so heavily that their parents had a hard time separating the two. As they were pulled apart the boy shouted that he would write her letters and call her all the time. The girl wanted to say she'd do the same but she was crying so much the words wouldn't come out. But sadly, those letters would never come. He would call, but the girl would happen to be out and missed each call. She'd call back but then the boy would be gone. It was an endless circle of missed chances and unwritten words. She thought he gave up on her and he thought she hated him. The two stopped trying and went on with their lives. The woman sighed, today was not what she thought it would be. She was now a thriving college student moving out on her own. Today was supposed to be a fun day. Going down memory lane while packing it all up and starting her new journey. But now? With another sigh she put down the pictures and looked back in the box. She still wasn't clear if she had put these pictures in here and just hid them away? Or if this box was placed here by someone else. To her surprise there was a letter folded neatly on the very bottom of the box. Her eyes lit up, full of curiosity again as she picked up the letter. Her heart skipped a beat, it was a letter from him. She grabbed the letter with both hands and read through the words carefully. She bit down on her lower lip and her eyes started to water up. Suddenly she was angry. She kept reading until the very last line before crumpling the paper up. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she pouted like a child. He felt the same as her. Their feelings were mutual this whole time. Her crush on him developed during one of their elementary over night school trips. A storm had happened and cliché enough- she was terrified of thunder. She had escaped from her cabin and snuck into his. She forced him awake, scaring him in the process, and cried to him that she was scared. The boy groaned that she was annoying, but he still let her climb into his bed. He cuddled her and petted her head in a calming way. He told her stories he heard from their friends and random facts until she fell back asleep. The way he distracted and sheltered her awoke her feelings for him. And the ironic thing was that in his letter he said that he had fell for her the same day. The woman, who was now no longer in the mood to pack up her old bedroom, tossed the crumpled up letter to the ground and got to her feet. She wiped away her tears harshly and grabbed her belongings. Ready to leave and head over to her new place and unpack what was already there. She marched out of the room and headed for the stairs. As she was about to descend downwards, her feet stopped moving. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. In one quick motion she spun around and grabbed the crushed paper from the floor and stuck it into her purse.
She said goodbye to her parents and left the house. She got into her car and drove away towards her new home. Her mind still lost in the contents of the letter. She tried to remember the day he moved away. How he was able to slip away long enough to hide this under her bed. She swore there wasn't a moment that day they were apart! Her chest ached more. Her feelings for him never wavered. He was like a curse on her dating life. She'd try to meet someone new and go out on dates- but she'd always end up comparing them with her childhood love. It was weird and made no sense to her friends. But that's just how it was for her. The woman thought she'd never move on from this crushing love. When she got into her parking space near the entrance to her apartment complex she stayed inside her car. Her eyes glanced over to her purse, the messed up letter slightly fell out from her driving. Hesitantly she reached out and picked it up. Carefully she smoothed out the paper so the words became legible again. Her eyes focused on the very last sentence. "I'll come back for you, don't you dare forget about me" She shook her head and looked away. The woman didn't want to believe in these old words. It's been years and there was no sign of him. So what would make her think he'd come back just because she found that heart box now? A noise from outside pulled her away from her thoughts. It was movers pulling furniture out of a moving truck. Someone other than herself had moved in too. Seeing these men unload someone else's belongings reminded her of the unorganized mess waiting for her upstairs. She put the letter back in her purse, this time folded neatly, and exited her car. She took the elevator up to her floor quietly. Her eyes were focused downward the entire time as she walked closer to her front door. She just wanted to sleep and forget she saw this letter. Due to her not watching where she was going, the woman ended up bumping into someone. The box they were holding scattered on the ground and papers flew everywhere. She gasped and instantly apologized. She knelt down and started to gather the papers. Once she had a handful she straightened them out and looked up to hand them to the person above her. But no words could pass her lips. Her body froze. It was him. He was older. His features more prominent and he was way taller than a middle schooler. But there was no mistake that it was him. She could tell he recognized her too. They opened their mouths at the same time. Both shouting out the others name. Her eyes teared up when she heard him say her name. He flinched hearing her grown up voice. The girl shook her head, one thought ran through her mind. After all these years- after all the failed attempts to move on- she needed to know. He reached out to her but she backed away and shook her head. Her hand dug through her purse until it felt the wrinkly folded paper. She yanked it out and unfolded it. She held it up for him to see- he instantly blushed a deep red. Her heart skipped a beat. She stared at him, hoping he'd catch on to what she was asking. She watched him take in a gulp of air. Very hesitantly he nodded his head. He opened his mouth to apologize at how cowardice he was back than. He wanted to explain to her that he still loved her and that he never once had his feelings sway. But before he could utter a word out the woman had thrown herself into his chest. She wept and nuzzled her face into his hoodie. He blushed as his heart thumped hard against his ribcage. He wanted to ask her how she felt- if he could take this reaction as a good sign. But he didn't need to. The woman looked up at him with wet eyes and a smile. She called him an idiot before planting a kiss on his lips. Catching him off guard for a moment but that moment was short lived. He snapped back to his senses and kissed her back with more passion. It was a moment the both of them had dreamed of since elementary school. They pulled apart and stared at each other for a second before bursting with laughter. It was a fairy tale ending neither of them saw coming.