She walks the streets at night as though she’s the crusader of her heart, her body and her soul. But all she rules is a dark and murky empire where stale tobacco smoke fills the air. In her kingdom are stains on the bar counter, surround by stools reserved for the lonely. When she takes her seat on her throne, her wine glass becomes her magic wand. Each night she arrives just as the darkest of the night sets in, dressed in a silky dress, sparkling jewels and shoes that are slightly frayed.

All night long, men flock around her hoping to win her hand and her body as prize for the loneliest of hearts. But, as she swallows back on her wine before she points to the winner, they can’t know the many roads she has travelled on, or the many paths she has wandered along to find his soul in someone else’s body. They can’t know that she was once just an ordinary girl, living in an ordinary world, and in love with an ordinary man. As they gather around her, she gazes desperately into their eyes, anxious to find him there. She searches for a sign, a smile, a frown, or a hand that tells her he has been looking for her too. She frantically hunts for anything to tell her that she has finally found his soul in someone else’s body.

In this world, his skin can no longer press against hers. He can no longer run his fingers lovingly over her hand. He can no longer touch her neck or place a hand on her back, overcome with a burning desire for her. There is no beginning and no end for him anymore. With each touch on her face, she could feel his warmth seep over into her. Without saying a word, he would comfort her. She belonged to him, and he belonged to her. Each time he would step out from the shadows, he stole her breath, and he embezzled the warmth of her skin. She could barely breathe in just enough air each time he placed his arms around her. And, as his hands would fold around her back, he would draw her in closer. 

So, she lets the strangers of the night touch her and hold her as she tries to find his soul in someone else’s body. As she frantically searches for a sign of oblivious confusion in their eyes, she tries to breathe him in and smell the familiarity of him. She feels their lips press against hers, and when her tears scold her for her carelessness, she realizes they aren’t the lips her heart is dying for. From the shadowy darkness, she can almost hear his voice reprimanding her. She closes her eyes for a moment and evokes his once-familiar face illuminated by the flickering lights as her emotions turn from near-elation to utter horror. She steps back, and with a faltering voice and unintelligible croak, she whispers that she just can’t find him.

Suspended by grief, she stares at the stranger’s face in front of her. He isn’t the one in the picture she keeps beside her bed. Her heart does not recognize him. The stranger stares back at her and frowns, mystified by the confusion she is trapped in. He is sure that the pain in her eyes must be the ruins of a lifetime of dread. He lowers his head, suddenly fraught to reach the scars of her heart, and spend one night with her as he walks with her in her pain. Her suffering reminds him of a teddy bear formed from shards of glass. He looks up at her again, and realizes that the tighter she clings to it, the deeper it cuts into her. Before he walks away from her, he hopes that someday she will swap her razor-sharp teddy bear for a softer, warmer one that will keep her safe and cozy under the stars.

As she watches him leave, she is beleaguered by the reality that each moment spent with her love had turned into nothing more than painful memories. Sharp and merciless as it cuts right through her soul each time she thinks of him. His leaving pierced her soul and stripped her of the ability to celebrate their memories. Memories she had become deathly afraid of. A broken mess is all he had left her with, and as a picture of his face flashes before her, she wants to scream out in unbearable pain. Her life is no longer her favorite book. Instead, she is sure that someone else’s story has spilled over into hers, and she is left to simply play her part as though there is no greater meaning anymore.

When the night is over and the men have left her kingdom, she knows that she is still searching for his soul in someone else’s body. She crawls into her big, empty bed, tired of trying to fill the void he had left her with. She pulls her knees to her chest and clings to the pillow beside her. She no longer wants to face another day without him. She no longer wants to live with herself or the extremes she goes to, to find his soul in someone else’s body. She no longer wants to be haunted by the memories of him swirling around inside her head.

To the world, she is mediocre and purposeless. They see the Queen of the night as she wins the favor of the lonely. But all she is, is a splintered soul desperate to find the missing parts of her. All she needs is the warmth of his breath as he whispers in her ear. All she asks for is the eyes she’s looked into a hundred times before, to be returned to her. He had figured out his heart long before she could ever set her own. Without him, her life had become nothing more than a blur. If only he could see how broken she was without him.

Her story had changed. Her normal had been altered and her extraordinary had left her crushed and alone in a world he no longer has a connection to. How does she go on without him, when her love for him penetrates through time and distance? Or, has it simply raised the vibration in her longing for him? She awakes each morning, distraught and deeply wounded by the brutality of the universe. She feels betrayed when she considers their unfinished love, their fragmentary life and their incomplete story. His absence profoundly incapacitates her. Her dreams cling to her like shrapnel while she walks around feeling numb, empty and lost.

She has become the pain she feels. Each day, it reveals the pieces of her that are shattered as it slowly strips away all that she once was. She wakes up feeling robbed, as though something irreplaceably valuable had been stolen from her. She feels as though her body is being torn to pieces when the pain becomes dreadfully physical. With each step forward, she crashes into the soreness that has become the most heart-wrenching loss of her life. He is gone. The better part of her has left. The couple they were was gone forever, and it left her feeling dazed and insecure. She didn’t want to face this universe without him. She was deficient without him, while overcome with loneliness.

Each night, she goes looking for a haven as she continues to mourn him. It is the driving force that keeps her locked away in her grief, and unable to breathe without a dagger piercing through her heart. She climbs the bus to her shadowy kingdom with renewed exhilaration, while the sense of danger engulfs her. Perhaps tonight she will find him again. Perhaps he will be there waiting for her as the sounds of the piano drowns out the noises of the lonely when she walks in.

She knows that the memories of her nights are formed each time she strolls into the realm of the lost and the lonely. She knows it would come back to haunt her for years to come. She has seen things. She has done things that has revolted and shocked her, things that would follow her for the rest of her life and ultimately leave her with so much more pain. There would be no escape from the agony, and she would accept the torment as punishment for all she had done in her quest to find him.

Perhaps tonight it will be his eyes she sees, his touch she feels and his warm breath on her. Perhaps, when the night is over, she could kick off her shoes and hang up her dress forever. Perhaps, after tonight, she will no longer search for his soul in someone else’s body. Perhaps tonight, her search will be over.

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