I am here to love you, to hold you in my arms, to protect you. I am here to learn from you and to receive your love in return. I am here because there is no other place to be.
But then, as always, the mist starts to form as we stand close to one another. It is a distant fog that rises from the horizon, and I find that I grow fearful as it approaches. It slowly creeps in, enveloping the world around us, fencing us in as if to prevent escape. Like a rolling cloud, it blankets everything, closing, until there is nothing left but the two of us.
I feel my throat begin to close and my eyes well up with tears because I know it is time for you to go. The look you give me at that moment haunts me. I feel your sadness and my own loneliness, and the ache in my heart that had been silent for only a short time grows stronger as you release me. And then you spread your arms and step back into the fog because it is your place and not mine. I long to go with you, but your only response it to shake your head because we both know that is impossible.
And I watch with breaking heart as you slowly fade away. I find myself straining to remember everything about this moment, everything about you But soon, always too soon, your image vanishes and the fog rolls back to its faraway place and I am alone on the pier and I do not care what others think as I bow my head and cry and cry and cry.
Copyright © Nicolas Sparks. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher Warner Books. All rights reserved.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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