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Then and Now

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"When I was a kid, I liked a girl, she had bright silver hair and wide emerald eyes like a deer, a girl who was full of joy and loved to dance, not that she knew what dancing was. She would spin, jump, and take your hands and pull you in, both figuratively and physically. I made many memories with her in the years we were close, but I will always remember the last time I saw her. We were teenagers, and she turned to look at me, a small smile she had reserved for those close to her bright and beautiful. Then she turned back, walked down the path to her house, and no one ever saw her again. Many said she died, but I always knew differently, she had finally found her rhythm and became a musician, a word both forbidden and scoffed at, a word she took as her own and made joyful and bright," the adult elf wrote, sitting at a fountain in the center of the town, looking around at the buildings, most white and pristine, with flashes of color from older buildings every once in a while passed his vision. Places made of wood and clay, examples of how far their town had come. It was a peaceful city, one where the inhabitants were all intelligent and most void of any emotion - save for a select few, like him. It was something he'd known since he was a child, the fact that his imagination was bright and feelings were strong, just like her. That was how they became so close because they were the ones who were different, the ones who were so different that being together always felt like an adventure, a mission, they felt like spies.

She was beautiful and had something he'd never seen in the town - even all these years after - she had rhythm, emotion, and now that he knew what it was, she was full of music. She'd hum, tap beats that scared other kids, dance on her own only accompanied by the birds, bugs, and curious eyes of the boy. She'd smile big when she saw him, the braid of hair always flipping and spinning along with her flowy dresses and wild kicks, and he'd be pulled in, his own amber hair windblown and head dizzy when they stopped, both laughing and falling into the grass to giggle some more while the world continued to spin. But then, suddenly, she left. It was out of nowhere, simply the disappearance of a teenager after sneakily running around for months, something only he knew. No one seemed to sweat it, letting life move on at the drop of a dime, no questions asked and no answers found. He became a journalist and freelance writer, knowing that any other career would be too much logistics and not enough emotion. He found his place, just as she had all those years before.

Today, however - three whole centuries later - he saw her again. She was both drastically different and entirely the same it hit him like a bird hits a glass pane, seeing into something he could never reach. She still had her thick silver hair, but now it looked like a storm full of electric charges and was loose as if it couldn't be touched. She still held herself with loud and proud confidence, but now that confidence was fueled out of laughter and love rather than spite to those who challenged her. She still had emerald eyes that sparkled when she smiled, but now her smile was directed at someone else, a human woman who smiled right back at her, hand in hand as they strolled the street. She had music in her heart and the writer could hear it from across the road, loud enough to drown out the fountain that rushed behind him. She was beautiful and he felt happy for her, finally knowing that she had reached her dreams, even the ones she might not have known she had deep down. He had no doubt that she had seen the dark, but that struggle - like many others - often made the light even brighter, and the light she was shining now?

It was stunning.