He knew that this day would come.
Its arrival foretold by the cutting cold of the November wind,
chilling his bones and numbing his mind.
How did it ever come to this?
The cracks in his mask, having grown larger to the freeze, threatened to expose his very soul.
Anything, anything but that.
He turned his collar from the wind, hoping to hide what he desperately tried to keep.
The frozen bellows whispered to his fears, trying to turn his thoughts against him, the very ones whom he once trusted. Is happiness only meant to be taken away?
He stopped, and found himself staring at huddled figure in a darkened corner.
She knew that it had to end.
The end was all she ever had.
There was a certain comfort in the pain she felt, like it would always be there to greet her, were her hopes to get too high.
Is this all there is?
Her mask, slowly chipping away from the dark corner that she had come to know too well, threatened to leave her, just as everything did. Why would this be any different?
No. There had to be more.
As the darkness hushed vicious lies to keep her from seeing the wings she never knew she had, she stood and turned from her corner, and saw him.
They stood in silence for an eternity, while the wind and darkness hissed around them, their efforts thwarted.
He moved closer, and began to to take off the last remaining fragments of her darkened mask, as she gently pulled what was left of his.
What they saw was not darkness, or the freezing cold. In them, they saw each other. Scared. Afraid. Uncertain. But amidst the pain and broken dreams, they each saw a glimmer. Of hope. Of happiness. Of love.
And at once, a warmth unlike any they ever knew flooded the corner, and banished out the dark and the cold. They became enveloped in a golden light, and as they embraced, time stood still.
She fit so perfectly in his arms, her head cradling against his chest. Her heartbeat comforted him, as if he had known that rhythm his whole life. His breathing matched hers, and they became one.
And in that moment, they knew.
Love was what mattered. It had never left.
In themselves, they found love.
And in love, they found themselves.