• There was a slight rustling of wind followed by the excruciating sound of tree branches scraping against glass. The noise was almost worse than that of a small child’s nail being drug across a chalkboard out of spite. With an overwhelming sense of grogginess, I slumped out of my bed. I clicked the latch on the window and pushed it open. My hand reached out to push the branches back. When my fingers reached what should have been damp bark, they instead found something else. I wrapped them around the object and pulled it inside to the light. It was a shred of what seemed to be a scarf. A second glance set off several triggers in my head. It looked like the scarf Misa had always worn.

    It had been three years since anyone had seen her around. Now, if my memory served me correctly, a piece of her clothes was stuck in my tree. Just holding that scrap of fabric purged my brain with long forgotten memories. Three years of being with her condensed into a twenty-minute rewrite of my mind. As the lobes in my brain repositioned themselves to their former location of years ago, I felt a tingle run down my face. I slowly reached a hand up where the sensation was coming from. Much to my surprise, there were tears coming from my eyes. No. This was no surprise. Three wonderful years were abruptly brought to a halt after graduation day. She had enough of the people here and the things they did. All of them. Or at least that’s how she made it seem. I tried to piece it all back together again, but just as the scarf, I was still missing quite a bit.

    Suddenly I had an idea. The shred of cloth slipped from my fingers and drifted to the floor as I headed back towards the window. If there was one piece, perhaps another was caught in the grip of the near dead oak outside. Again I opened the window, only now I inspected the tree carefully, being sure not to pass up an inch of it. Sure enough, there was another piece caught in the branches. As I rescued it from the cold outdoors, I realized it was much more than a scrap. This piece however was covered in dirt, mud, and…blood. Then came the memories again. They were nearly the same as the last, just now more in depth. As I came across a certain memory and its details, I quickly dropped the scarf. With the rush if pleasant memories before, it seemed to only amplify the shock that hit me for a second time in my life. It seemed much worse the second time around. I knew the details. There was no pause between those heartbreaking words as before. They came at me full force and all at once.

    I didn’t want these things to return to me. They were the soul reason I blocked out those three years of life. I sat there trembling, the lengths of scarf at my feet. Finally I snapped back into reality and looked at the two fragments of unwanted memories. Quickly I snatched them up and cast them back into the cold. As I lay back in bed I tried to fight the memories. There was no telling how long it would take to block them out once again, but it seemed necessary once again. Finally they ceased and allowed me rest. Come morning, I hoped those horrid reminds were gone.

    Four hours later, at approximately 5:16 a.m. I woke in a sweat. A sudden recollection of what happened explained to my why I was in the condition. I crept over to the window and cautiously pulled back the curtain. The shreds were gone. I wasn’t sure if I was relieved at the sight or not. Though the reminder was gone, something inside me yearned for it. As much as those memories hurt, I wanted them. I needed them. There was misery involved, but there always seemed to be some sort of void in my area of contentment. It was somewhere I dwelled often and had grown quite used to it. Long ago, there had been hope for a reverse. Something outside the norm.

    Just shortly after that day is when I came to realize there would be no reverse. No change in how things would always wind up. It was my fate to remain this way. Trapped in memories, and only memories. There was a pause in my breathing as I looked away from the tree branches and fixed my gaze to the ground below it. To one side of the trunk, there appeared to be part of an orange jacket. It didn’t seem to be empty either. I couldn’t decide whether to shout out the window or to go outside. Afraid that whoever it was would be gone by the time I got down, I stayed by the window. My problem was, I had no idea what to say. A scarf I had seen three years ago turned up torn and blood stained outside my window. Now there was a possibility that she herself was here too.

    I was shaking horribly when my mouth finally opened. “Misa?” I called out meekly. There was no reaction from whoever was seated there. Either I was wrong about the identity or she hadn’t heard me. Certain they weren’t going anywhere, I headed down the stairs and unlocked the door. I hesitated for a moment as my hand touched the knob. Slowly I turned it until I heard the slide was clear. Once the sound entered my mind, I pulled open the door just enough to see out of it. Sure enough, they were still there. A deep breath allowed me to exit the doorway and stagger over to the trunk of the still oak. As I approached, leaves began to crunch under my weight. Slowly the figure’s gaze turned to me. The sight of those pale green eyes froze me in place.

    “It’s…been a while. Hasn’t it?” she asked quietly.

    “Just a little over three years now,” I whispered. “What made you come back?” I asked as I sat down where I had once stood. Her eyes never left me as I moved, tracing my every movement. Almost as if trying to figure out my next course of action.

    “I’m not really sure. Guess I just missed a few things…” she said, her voice trailing off. As her sentence faded, her gaze finally left me. It didn’t make much sense to me. Of all the places to go, she showed up here. It wasn’t anywhere near where I used to live when she was still a resident of this area too. I could feel my curiosity getting the best of me, wanting to ask more. Though my mind didn’t care, my mouth seemed to follow its own creed. My jaw forced itself shut and locked with no keyhole in sight. As I tried to pry it open, did all I could to pick that unseen lock, I felt my leg start to tingle. There wasn’t enough blood circulating so my limbs were numbing fast. I returned to my former position of standing in hopes it would revive my dying limbs. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed she stood now too. Afraid she was leaving, I tried to say something in protest. My jaw finally opened, but nothing came out. Then the unexpected happened.

    Within a time frame I couldn’t keep up with, she had moved from her place and was now nearing mine. When my brain finally caught up, Misa was right in front of me. She was pressed as tight as she could get without knocking me backwards. Without thinking, I wrapped my arms around her and kept her tight. I didn’t care what consequences would come from this anymore. I could feel tears welling up in the corner of my eyes again. Before they could fall, I felt a small bit of moisture gathering on my shirt. She had beaten me to it. There was a slight vibration coming from her body as she cried, urging tears of my own to fall. They seemed trapped where they had formed. Afraid to fall and moisten my skin again.

    Slowly her face lifted, her tear trails glistening in the morning’s light. “I missed you, and I know I shouldn’t have left. Not like that. I…I’m really sorry if I made it seem like you were why I left. I just didn’t know what to-“ she started to explain before I cut her off.

    “It’s ok Misa. What happened then is done. We can’t change that. But…you came back. Not only did you come back, but also you came back here. You have no idea how much that means” I told her. As my last sentenced formed, the tears finally came.

    “Kale,” she whispered when my tears were noticed. She shifted so that she was nuzzled into my neck. Her soft warm breath was soothing; lulling me into a point of almost pure content and relaxation. “I know it’s asking a lot, but, would you…be willing to start again? To have things back to how they were?” she finally asked me. I couldn’t believe this. After all this time, she truly wanted to return.

    After what seemed a few minutes of staring into her now shimmering eyes, I had finally made up my mind. “Of course Misa. You know you’ll always have a place here. So long as it’s what you want” I told her, my gaze still enticed by those pale green eyes. There was a shift in her facial expression once I was done talking. No longer were her lips pursed tight in a straight line, but curved to a degree to display whatever level of joy and excitement had taken her over in that instant. Somehow, Misa managed to press herself tighter against me. A quick glance down displayed she was standing on the tips of her feet to reach her current position. I couldn’t help but let out a faint laugh at the sight.

    When she realized what I was laughing for, she let out a giggle of her own, then set her feet flat on the floor. I stared for the longest time, making certain she was truly back. It didn’t seem like my mind was playing tricks on me. Then I saw something that puzzled me. Around her neck, as always, was the very same scarf I had found last night. However, it wasn’t torn, bloody, or dirty. Every strand of thread was accounted for and clean. Perhaps that was the trick my mind had played on me.

    She still looked just as she did before save for a few minor things. Her fine black hair was grown out a few extra inches and pulled up in an ornate way in the back. She was about an inch or two taller as well, but compared to me, it still wasn’t enough for her to catch up. Nearly perfectly weighted and proportioned, she turned out to look even more amazing than ever before. Then there was what would never change. That almost permanent look that denoted a child-like joy. The cluster of hair dyed deep red amidst her jet-black hair. Finally, those pale green eyes surrounded by fair skin so soft, it nearly melted at the touch. It was what always pulled me near; what caused my mind to scream at my body to never let go.

    We stood there for the longest time. Not speaking. Almost not breathing. We remained as we were, like we had no care for the world around us. Why should we? The only world we needed was confined in this tight space. I felt as if I could remain in that spot forever. Let thousands of years run by of only to remain where I was. The vision was trapped in my head the second it was dreamt up. It was a moment of pure bliss, the kind only love or some rather potent drug could promise your body, soul, and mind. My vision was interrupted as I felt water splash on my face.

    The rain came slow at first, a light drizzle for a few minutes. As the belt of weather continued to move, the thick portion came. We were soaked almost instantly under the tears of clouds. She stood there smiling at me, her clothes drenched and her hair no longer pulled up, but sticking to her face. Like a china doll left out in the rain. I could feel my own clothes retaining water and watched as drops streamed from my soaked head. A smile formed on my face as well as we stood there, bathing in the cloud’s emptiness. Her fingers slid off my chest and intertwined with mine where they hung.

    In that instant, I realized I was quite wrong about my statement before. There was hope for a change, for something new. Here it was. Reverse came after all, or at least a temporary form of it. No matter how long it would last; I had obtained it, and intended to do all I could to keep this change. A glance up at the perfect instant allowed me sight of something wonderful. Heat lighting sparked and danced in the clouds, giving them a soft blue-violet glow. It truly was turning out to be a wonderful day.

    The rain showed no sings of letting up. Its heart set on drowning out all the life it possibly could while it still had strength. We wouldn’t be claimed by it, no matter how hard it tried. I felt her tugging at me, motioning to go inside where it was cozy and warm. Slowly I followed behind her, my left hand still caught up with hers, my right catching rain drops. It had been quite a while since I let myself get caught in the rain. Why I ever gave up the feeling, the passion, I do not know. When I reached the doorway, I lingered a bit, staring out into the storm. It seemed we would be claimed by it and drowned some other day.