But the girl continued to love the man.
The love had snaked its way into her bones, and anchored in the deepest part of her. She missed him, and began to forget the sharper edges of their relationship.
She remembered instead the way he had touched her wrist on that very first night. She remembered his worried eyes, and the soft pad of his thumb against her bottom lip. She remembered him singing in her ear, and the rough of his neck, and the tremble in his throat when she undid his tie.
She began to polish the grooves out of these memories, until soon, only shiny surfaces remained.
She slipped these better moments into her pocket, and she took them out at night in the dark. She started to hold on to every last night, and let go of every next morning, and soon her loneliness recalibrated into longing.
And when only longing remained, she took these memories out of her pocket, and laid each one before him.
It was a gesture both hesitant, and hopeful.
It turns out the man had been waiting for the girl this whole time. He welcomed her return, and held out his hand, and when she took it, both were full of forgetting.
– Maggie Valentine, The Memory of Stars