The fourth, the fifth
This is hers. Chloe. Future. 500 words. Pg.
The past comes in dreams. There are no patterns, no rhyme or reason.
She dreams in primary colors, of sunshine. Bright faces spaced about, smiles and innocent eyes. No edges in the dreams; nothing to cut a person open. The only shadows are natural.
Laughter in the air, and it echoes. It’s not forced – his nor hers nor theirs. The old familiar faces lost to time, but not lost to memory, to dreams.
She dreams of a shiny past, any wounds forgotten. Those simple days of afternoons at the newspaper, weekends at the coffee shop, the barn. Smiles all around.
In dreams the past does not hurt her. She dreams of the early days, the middle; the past is sanitized. She sees the revisions as she wanders in the gossamer. She opens her hands and accepts.
Awake, in a small bare apartment, she remembers choices without revisions. No reminders in the apartment – the room stark, impersonal. This person she has become with permission granted.
There were youthful aspirations. She shed them, those possessions and more.
Made freely in the way choices of that nature must be made. She understood the consequences.
She had no illusions about her role.
She lives alone in an apartment done in pale, muted shades. In the past she loved bold, vibrant colors; that life no longer even feels like hers. The memories remain: murky and shadowed in reality, soft and translucent in dreams.
There were never any goodbyes. She had nothing for him in the end. Couldn’t.
Once there were too many words. They erupted, accused, forgave, loved. They were in abundance, and often without care.
She thinks her co-workers and friends would say she’s sparse, deliberate with words.
They would say she’s quiet. Nice but quiet.
The past remains. She goes on.
She reads the newspaper in coffee shops. There are three near her building; she varies day by day. A ritual she supposes. It keeps her grounded.
The newsprint is thin, prone to staining fingers black. She likes to press her palm against the crease, hear the rustle. Her computer offers none of these comforts.
He’s in the newspaper most days. The stories rarely big: he’s faded over the years, tales of heroism no longer demanding front-page coverage. Nothing captures the public forever, not even an alien superhero.
She drinks black coffee, tries to divide her time proportionally.
She rarely succeeds.
She knows he could find her if he chose. He never did, an implicit acceptance of her silent wishes. She never confessed her reason and he never got the opportunity to seek or even to demand.
That time has passed, never to come again.
He’s faded in the public eye but to her. She sometimes wonders what he remembers, how he remembers. She hopes he has some fondness left for her; she dreams of him in flannel and smiles.
She left so not to destroy the remains of what they were and never could be again.
She hopes he understood.
i'm still hoping better angels will come to me
- Smallville fic