She came into my life with the expectation that she would stay with me forever. And for a while, she did, a span of five full years. The years when I felt most happy, contented, fulfilled, whole. The years when I knew what being in love actually meant.

It mattered not that she did not know; it was enough for me to see her constantly, even from afar. To see her play volleyball, attend the Sunday service, rush to her next class, do her research in the library, laugh out loud over a friend’s joke, enjoy her lunch in the school canteen, teach her dog how to fetch, play games with the neighborhood kids on moonlit nights, or just simply brush her hair behind her ears when a soft breeze touches her gentle face. These were quiet moments that brought me immense joy, because I knew then that she was secured and safe.

But as an old song said, people grow, and they sometimes grow apart. And she, young as she was then, proved to be no exception. In between the years when I found that my feelings for her remained unchanged, I hardly noticed the changes that she was undergoing. New friends started to come into her life, eager to share their experiences with her, and in their company, she found new avenues to explore.

It was then that she started to drift away from the world she used to live in. With her youth and innocence, the thrill of entering a whole new one was naturally too tempting to resist. It was a different world, more appealing and more exciting, where the only limit was the imagination.

The change was never instant, though. Still, it came inevitably. And by the time I took full notice, it had become too late for me to realize that the young lovely girl I have long held close to my heart was no longer within my grasp. The shy, unassuming girl was no more. In her place, a completely different person has taken over, a woman whose attraction was beyond description I fail to recognize the lady from my past.

She has since moved on, and is nowhere near anymore. She appears to continue enjoying the world she has happily settled in, unmindful of all the things she has left behind.

Yet, every now and then, memories of her past would come back to haunt me, especially when nights are silent and loneliness is my sole companion. Then I would think of her, and of the love that I once held for this woman who grew up to leave behind a thousand liters of unshed tears.