She couldn't get him out of her head. The curve of his face against the pillow as he slept, the feel of his hand in hers as they danced -- they were all there, these images, lined up in a row, hanging just inside her eyelids. She couldn't get them out of her head.
But still, he was fading. All the time, he was fading. She remembered now, sitting at her desk, with painstaking clarity, the first time she had seen him. Coming up the steep slope of a hill, his bags in his hands, he had taken her breath away. She had felt, quite literally, a dull thud in her chest. And then he had smiled.
She had been a goner. Even then. Even when she thought she had not stood a chance. Even though she knew that, just as suddenly as he had appeared, he would disappear.
And he had. First physically, and now in her mind. Everyday, she discovered something new that she could not remember. The sound of his laugh when he was pleasantly surprised, for instance. Or the way that she had seen him, that fateful evening, running through the bushes with two dogs by his side.
During the day, it bothered her, this passing of time and fading of clarity. A pinprick at the back of her mind, it caused her to furrow her brows while eating lunch, scratch absentmindedly at her neck as she walked to work.
But at night, it was different. When she lie in the dark, staring at the empty space next to her, she tried to visualize him and couldn't. She tried to see him and knew that he wasn't there. And in this reality, she found a sense of peace.
She would close her eyes and remember that, even if he did not exist right here, even if he did not exist with her -- he existed. Far away, in a cabin in the woods, he lived and was breathing and creating and always, always smiling.
Whether she saw him next week, next year, or never again, that knowledge that he existed somewhere, and that, at one point in time, he had existed with her and he had loved her, if only for a moment -- well, that knowledge would have to be enough.