She discovers that it is possible to carry on after breaking. To walk, perhaps even to run, and come to terms with the fact that she is broken.

It never seemed important, this strange twisting of her heart whenever she saw him. But then, at seventeen, nothing seems more important than getting on with things. Studies, exams, grades, college… all of it seemed so big and important, and it was so easy to ignore how she almost seemed to hurt after speaking to him, even for a moment.

Perhaps she should have told him. Perhaps she should have said something, allowed her clogged-up, denied heart some relief, some goddamn release, but she reasoned with it. Wouldn’t it be better for her, in the long run, to just move on and forget about it? Wouldn’t that hurt less than outright rejection?

Maybe she should have just gone with her heart, for once. Because rejection now seems like it would have been better than a lingering love that’s too strong to snuff out.

She’s getting on with things, within the happy maelstrom of life and colour and laughter her life has become; but in the deepest pits of her heart, she struggles with a pain and a regret and a love that she hides from even herself. She sees no traces of any of it in the mask she puts on carefully before exiting the bathroom every morning, and there are also few traces of who she was, either.

But behind the mask, she still loves him, and still mourns as she forgets his face, day by day.