An imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.
I lay on the ground, while Ryder made a fire, and I look to the night time sky to see the moon surrounded, being loved by the stars. I envy at how effortless their relationship is.
"The stars are so pretty," Ryder said as he mimicked my position on the ground.
I felt his eyes burning holes into the side of my face. "You're worth every last one of them."
I turned to him, surprised at how close we actually were.
He shuffled little closer, our noses almost touching and I can see the sparks of colors in his eyes. The light from the fire illuminated his face in such a beautiful way, I wanted to take this moment and put it in a jar and hide it away somewhere specially for a rainy day.
And then I realized these are the moments. This is what makes all the pain and heartache worth it.
"One day. One day I will give you the stars. Even though you're worth more than every star in the universe, I will promise the stars to you." he said softly
And that was it. I knew.
3 weeks later
"What are you doing?" I ask softly as Ryder takes my hands.
We were just about to watch Tangled in Ryder's apartment when he got up from the couch.
"Making a fort" He takes my hand and leads me over to an armchair, kisses me lightly on the forehead and whispers a soft "stay here" before returning to his work. 20 minutes later he's made a huge fort out of cushions and duvets.
"Okay I think I'm finished" He says to himself as I walk over and wrap my arms around his neck.
"It's beautiful" I say softly, looking into his eyes.
"You're beautiful" he whispers, I try to hide a smile but I fail terribly.
I take his hand and pull him into the fort, both of us falling on top of each other. I couldn't stop laughing as I felt around with my hands to find him since it was so dark. My hand comes in contact with his face and I fall back laughing at the sound he makes. He takes my hand and pulls me closer so we are lying on our backs, staring at the roof. I feel him look for his phone, mess with it for a second before a light cracks through the silence and I'm left speechless.
Millions of little stars on the roof, walls, wherever the light hits them, they appeared. They twinkled like the real ones we slept under when we were on our way here. The night I really knew I was in love with him.
I turned to look at him. I looked at the freckles scattered across the bridge of his nose. I looked him into his eyes and thought that this, this felt right.
"I promised you the stars" he whispers
"Why can't we stay like this forever" I sigh and he pulls me close, my head finding the crook of his neck and our legs are left in a tangled mess.
"We've got forever sunshine. We just need to wait a little longer" he whispers in my hair and the sound of rain against the windows fills the air. I feel myself drifting to sleep, as the fake stars twinkle above us, I hear him whisper, "But I don't think I can wait much longer"
2 months later
Eventually the rain turns to snow and Jack Frost makes a visit every night.
I go across the hall to the familiar apartment number and I don't even bother to knock. I walk in the apartment and here a loud clatter.
I enter the kitchen to find Ryder and pots and pans scattered around the floor.
"Ry?" I say softly and he looks up to see me. His face falls further and his gaze drops to the floor.
"I just wanted to make you breakfast" He mumbled before letting out an exasperated sigh. I melt at the sight of him being so distressed over not being able to make me breakfast. I started to pick up the pots and pans but left out one of the pans and put it on the stove.
"Can you make pancake mix?" I asked softly as I uncross his arms he had defensively crossed in front of him and wrapped myself around him.
"mhm" he mumbles grumpily and I smile.
"We can do it together" I smiled up at him.
He closed his eyes and breathed out.
"Good morning gorgeous" he said as he reopened his eyes.
"Hello there" I whisper back as his eyes bore into mine.
15 minutes later I was making the fourth pancake when all of the sudden Ryder spoke up.
"This is nice" He came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist and rested his chin on my shoulder.
"What is?" I ask as the pancake lightly sizzles in the pan.
"You and I, cooking in our kitchen" He says into my shoulder.
"It's not our kitchen" I reply to which he pulls me impossibly closer.
"Do you want it to be?" He asks to which I sigh. Of course I want it to be. I want this to be our kitchen and I want his bed to be our bed. I want the song drifting through the air to be our song and his love to our love.
"A lot" I finally answer against my better judgement.
"Then it's ours" He says quietly. A comfortable silence fell over the kitchen, the song drifting through the small apartment .
10 days later
"I had a great time tonight" he says as we stop in front of the door.
"I did too" I say, a lazy smile forming on my lips as I see the twinkle in his eyes.
"We should do it again" I continue and his smile get impossibly bigger.
"Definitely!" He says a little too enthusiastically and I giggle at his cuteness.
"Goodnight Ry" I say softly and pull him into a hug. My head automatically nuzzles into his neck and I breathe him in, but not just his scent; how his arms wrapped around my waist with such delicacy but a strongness that makes me feel safe, how his back inflates and and guides down with every breath he takes and how he softly rubs my back.
"Night gorgeous" he whispers in my ear and then pulled back just enough so he could look into my eyes and our noses touch.
I step back and give a small wave as he walks backwards to his door across the hall, his gaze never shifting from mine.
"Goodnight" He says with a soft smile to which I giggle
"Goodnight" I reply as he opens the door
"Goodnight" He says again biting his lip and I giggle harder.
"Goodnight" I reply as he stops moving and just stares into my eyes.
"Goodnight" He whispers finally and I give him a shy wave again as our eyes stay locked until we've both shut our doors. My back falling against my just closed door and I look to the ceiling biting my lip, trying to fight off the hoard of butterflies running wild in my stomach.
1 year later
“Train number 187 departing in 5 minutes”
“I have to go” He says but I wish he were lying.
“I love you” He kisses me lightly on the forehead.
“Ry…” I trail off but my voice cracks before I can even finish his name.
“Remember what I said? No crying, don’t cry for me. Don’t cry for us or our future because that’s not what we should focus on. Smile because we had what was the realist and most mind blowing thing we will ever experience. Smile because you remember all the kisses and how i smell and the butterflies because thats what im going to do. I’m going to wear my smile because it’s the next best thing I can get to you. I love you, it’s a permanent thing that won’t change in 10 months or 10 years. Remember what i told you when I spilled my heart out, remember what I said at the hospital and remember what I’m saying right now because its true.” He says calmly as tears pour down my cheeks without my consent.
"You'll always be mine and I'll always be yours." He finishes with a sad smile and I pull him into a bone crushing hug.
"I love you" I sob into his shoulder as he rubs my back.
"I love you more"
"Train number 187 departing in 1 minute"
I can't stop my sobs from becoming borderline to violent. He pulls back to stare into my eyes and wipes away my tears.
"Smile for me baby, and don't forget me" He begs and I nod my head. I kiss him one last time and he pulls back and plants a long kiss on my forehead before slowly pulling away and picking up his duffel bag.
"Forever" I sob out and he stops his journey to the train. Without turning around he faces me, he responds with a simple "forever" in reply before stepping on to the train, leaving me alone at the platform.
10 years later
"Mommy I want ice cream!" The little body giggled from beside me as he swung our arms back and forth.
"Whatever you want Brady" I respond with a smile as his little hand wrapped around my thumb and he stumbled over his own feet proving he’s definitely my son.
"How was school?" I ask him as we reach the car and I take his bag.
"Good, but the girl beside me kept sneezing" he sighed as I opened the back seat door and he crawled in. I buckled his seatbelt and shut the door before running around to the drivers side and sliding in.
"Is that the same one who shared her crayons with you last week?" I ask and I see him nod his little head.
"Yeah..so I forgave her for sneezing so much" he smiles with his toothy grin and I smile back.
"Good boy Brady" I chuckle out as he looked out the window.
"Can we go to the zoo too?" He asks and I sigh.
"Im sorry honey we can't, I have to get you to your dads house by 4" I say softly, not wanting to have to leave him for the weekend.
“No!” He says grumpily and crosses his arms “His new girlfriend is mean.”
"Oh there’s a new one?” I ask, not really surprised.
“She’s really tall and calls me Bradley...” he grouches out as his brow furrows. “That’s not even my name” he whispers angrily to himself and I can’t help but chuckle at his cuteness.
“Hmm..I bet she’s really smart and has amazing moral values too” I say but the joke completely goes over the 6 year olds head.
“She’s not a real mommy…like you” he says as his attention goes out the window as I smile at his words.
We pull up outside the string of shops and Brady's feet were swinging excitedly in his seat as I got out to open her door. He stumbles out and grabs my fingers before I can even lock the car and drags me into the shop. The bell on the door jingles as we enter and the small man behind the counter smiles at our arrival.
"Oh hello there little Brady" he says smiling down at the blonde haired boy.
"Hi Mr.O’Sullivan!" He chirps back and gives him a little wave. "
You here for my special ice cream?" He asks happily as I lift him up and balanced him on my hip as his gaze is glued to the tubs filled with ice cream behind the glass screen, his bright blue eyes growing wide at the sight of so many options.
I smile at the older man
"Afternoon Mr.O’Sullivan, how’s Mary?" I ask.
"Oh she’s good, you know, keeping me busy" he chuckles as Brady's nose presses up against the glass.
"That one" He whispers, staring right at the chocolate ice cream and I laugh.
"I guess it’s two chocolate cones today" Mr.O'Sullivan chuckles as I put Brady down. He scoops out the ice cream and puts them in cones, making sure to add sprinkles to Brady's, just how he likes it. He grips my thumb with his small fingers again and pulls me out with a smile as he shouts a goodbye to Mr.O’Sullivan and drags us to the bench on the edge of the park we sit on every Friday as we eat our ice cream.
"Blue" He calls out as a blue car whizzed by us on the road. Hoards of people were walking on the streets path and I watched them pass, thinking about what’s going through their heads. "Red" I hear him mumble as faces seemed to blur into one, no one really standing out making me lose hope that I'll find anyone that shined as bright as the person who played on my mind still, after all this time.
"Are you even listening?" Brady asks from beside me as he pokes my side with a chocolatey finger.
"Sorry honey, just thinking.." I say honestly and look down at him tucked into my side. “‘Bout what?" He asks as he licks away at his ice cream.
"About a boy"
"Me?" He asks, distracted by the chocolate on his face.
"No, but you’re special like him though” I respond and feel my chest ache and sore as I think about him.
“Is he the boy daddy says ruined you two?” He asks with a giggle and my mouth flies open.
“He what?!” I ask shocked as my little six year old stares up at me.
“Every time you drop me off and you don’t hug him back he grumbles about you not being able to forget some boy…” He mumbles with a mouthful of ice cream. “Then he sulks in his office” he laughs as he does an impersonation of Theo by furrowing his brow and slumping his shoulders as he grumbles in a deep voice.
"Spot on Brady” I laugh sadly as he smiles brightly up at me.
“What’s his name?” He asks as he swings his legs on the bench.
“Ryder; his name was Ryder” I answer as a ghost of a smile plays on my lips; that was the first time I’d said his name in 10 years.
“Ryder is a nice name” Brady states after a few seconds of silence.
“He was very nice too” I comment as I stare at the faces of passing people.
“Was he your best friend?” The little boy asks me curiously, obviously wanting to explore the memory of the boy that ruined his parents relationship.
“Well…” I start, not really sure how you explain this kind of thing to a six year old.
“He was my everything…so I suppose you could say that includes best friends” I finally answer.
“Where is he?” Brady asks.
“I'm not too sure baby” I say as I run my fingers through his soft hair that was messy from school.
“Why don’t you call him?” He asks, finally finishing his ice cream, but his hands and face were covered in chocolate. I laugh and run my thumb over the patches of ice cream on his face as he scrunches his little button nose.
"I don’t have his number” I said with a sad smile as he grabs my hand and plays with my bracelets.
“Do you miss him?”
He stands up on the bench and kisses my cheek sloppily before hopping down.
“Can I go to the swings now mommy?” He asks giddily and I nod.
“Ill be over in a minute honey” I smile as he runs off and pull out my phone. I dial the familiar number and roll my eyes as I wait for him to pick up.
“What have you been telling our son Theo?” I ask as he sighs down the phone.
“Hi to you too” he scoffs and I sigh.
“Theo” I warn and I hear shuffling in the background, obviously him sitting back in his office chair.
“He just told me you talk about a boy who ruined us..” I say in a warning tone.
“Well excuse me for being a little pissed off that the woman I love is still hung up on someone after 10 years” I sit back in the uncomfortable bench and watch Brady run around the playground.
“You’re not in love with me Theo..” I trail off, knowing fully well if he was in love with me he would look at me the way he used to.
"How do you know that? I know I was rebound from some guy you still won’t tell me the name of, but I thought you’d move on by now” he says irritated and I sigh at his quick temper, something he never had.
"You got me pregnant Theo, it wasn't rebound, it was a mistake” I say monotonously and he almost growls.
“Mistake?! It was working out fine until you left me!” He yells and I almost hang up on him.
“Theo, I'm not having this conversation right now” I say tiredly.
“Not now, not ever” he grumbles out.
“I'll drop him off at 4” I answer and he mumbles something I really didn't care to hear and I hung up. I bite my lip as the bitterness he brought to my chest hits the back of my throat. He was a jerk, but at least I got one good thing out of our relationship; a beautiful little boy who brought back the glow to my chest. I can’t deny he was the result of endless nights of clubbing to forget green eyes and brown hair but I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
I watch the people passing on the sidewalk again, making sure I never miss a face. Some happy, some sad, some too caught up in life just to take the time and relax. And because there was so many faces passing by I almost missed the green eyes and dark hair exit a bookshop with a book in his hand and a smile on his face as he listened to the girl walking beside him tell him something. And as my heart started to beat the fastest I’ve ever felt, he laced their fingers together and kissed her cheek and she blushed, looking shyly down at the ground smiling.
A feeling of emptiness seemed to fill my chest in a paradoxical way as I watched her put a smile on his face the way I should be. And as they stopped at the traffic lights and he set his special gaze on her side profile the way I knew all too well I knew there was nothing else I could do. He had moved on, and most importantly he was happy. And as my son rushed over and grabbed my hand his green eyes that seemed to always make me melt met mine and we both knew in that instant our time was over. I knew he’d always love me, that much was true by the way his eyes told me a million stories in a short few seconds until the traffic stopped and the pedestrian lights turned green and my son grew exceedingly more impatient as he tugged on my arm.
And all at once he was gone, lost on a crowd a people who meant nothing to me in comparison. It didn't matter to me that he had moved on because in a sense I had too, and that was okay. The time we shared was short but it was the best I’d ever had, and if life tainted it, it probably wouldn’t have meant as much to me. I knew I would always love him, and he would always love me, even if he was with another.
But no matter who he was with, or where he was or what he was doing, we’d still always have the time we had together, and that’s all I could ever ask for.