Honorable Mention: “Sing soft kitty to me.” - Atlas to Zach
Honorable Mention: Eave’s First Kiss
Favorite Ship: TIE between Zacy & Eave
Honorable Mention: James
Best Theme Song: “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls ~ For Olive
Settled into our spot, I had learned to pass the time with Eila by playing hand games and singing childhood songs with her. Some moments were spent sharing stories, happy memories and missed family moments. We would smile and laugh and let ourselves be distracted by the simple things. Here, there was longing, but it felt different. It wasn’t sad, it was peaceful. I felt her in my heart and since I’ve been here, that has been enough to satiate me. Waiting for Olive felt like nothing I’d ever felt before and real words could never really explain it to anyone. It’s only something you know once you experience it yourself.
Eila had climbed into my lap and I was telling her the story of when Arden had got himself stuck in a pine tree while hunting a squirrel. It was an entertaining way to pass the time and Eila loved hearing the adventures of her big brothers. She nuzzled into my chest, ear against my beatless heart, listening and giggling when appropriate. At the end of the story, she sighed as she always did, in happy remembrance of better days.
"I liked that story."
Eila shot up, confused by the voice that spoke behind us. I, too, was taken aback. It was a familiar voice but one that I wasn’t expecting to hear for quite some time. Eila peered over my shoulder as I remained paralyzed. Not by fear, perhaps by happiness or maybe sadness. I could feel Eila’s chin against my shoulder as a smile formed on her face.
"We’ve been waiting for you, Olive," she whispered, removing herself from my lap and disappearing behind me.
I hesitated to turn around. Not because I wasn’t excited to see her, because I was. If my heart could beat now, it would’ve lept right out of my chest. I clutched my knees, gripping the fabric of my pants, as I tried to work through the feelings that suddenly bombarded me with her arrival. I stood up slowly, now trembling, and slowly turned around to meet her eyes. She glowed softly like an angel, of course she would. She smiled at me, standing a few feet away from me, hands outstretched and calling mine to join hers. I bit my lower lip as a single tear escaped my eye. Again, I was still unsure of exactly how I was feeling in this moment.
It was bittersweet, her presence in front of me. I had known that I would wait here forever for her, but I wasn’t prepared for forever to be only a day. I felt angry, knowing that she only stood here in front of me because she had died. Another tear rolled down my cheek at the mere thought of it. This wasn’t her time, this wasn’t supposed to happen. She was supposed to win, to go home, to live a long life the way I had envisioned for her. She wasn’t supposed to be here with me, no, not yet. My lips quivered as I contemplated what this meant and I stood there, unable to move any further.
She tilted her head to the side and looked at me, still smiling, as if she understood my hesitation. She brought her arms back down to her side and closed the gap between us, taking me into her arms. I responded with immediate tears, wrapping my arms around her body and hugging her tighter than I’d ever done before.
"Shhhhh," she whispered into my ears, running her hands through my unruly curls. She cupped my face in her palms and offered me a smile. Green eyes met brown ones and locked into focus. "Forever starts today," she said.
Her words melted me like honey, forcing a real smile from my lips and eventually a slight chuckle. The anger I felt over her premature arrival slipped away and the peace I had previously felt returned. It was unimportant how she came to be here, all that mattered was that she was and the words that she spoke were true. I was overcome with memories that we shared, time spent together, and the love we had for one another. I brushed her hair back behind her ear, purely for nostalgia, eliciting a flirty giggle from her. For the first time ever, she struck me speechless. Here, in this place with her, there was no room for my ramblings, no need for elaborate discourse. Our lips met softly and lovingly, reuniting us completely.
Forever starts today.