She rolled over in bed, the sun shining in low through the wood blinds. Her eyes fluttering open, she caught glimpse of one of the rays bouncing off his messy hair, hearing the deep rasps from his slow breath.
She smiled. She reached over and touched his hand. In his sleep, he gently grabbed hers before it went limp. Seconds later he roused, and pulled her in to him, his warm body surrounding hers.
Her eyes fell closed, but the smile remained. Her heart was finally at peace, full of adventure and joy from years of easy happiness with each other.
Her eyes opened again, and she was sitting in a quiet room, her hands resting gently on in her lap, holding her tissue. It was so white against her black dress. That had been such a nice daydream.
It could have been the truth. If he had just let down his guard. If she had been more patient.
He said he wasn't ready. He said he needed space. She drove him crazy with her constant pushing, he drove her crazy with his constant pulling. They were oil and water and beauty at the same time. The energy that connected them was intense, but his depression made it seem like indifference at times, and that is when he would destroy her and let the demons win again.
So she gave it all to him. He said that maybe, when he was ready, things would work out. She even let herself feel that hope.
From afar, for years, she watched him - hundreds of women, thousands of bottles, and no ounce of trying. Once she walked away, there was no one real anymore. No one was there to tell him the truth, to make him stop continuing the hurt.
After some time, she gave up. There was a beauty, though, in never knowing if it was really over. That is what kept her heart whole. The empty promise of maybe.
Less than six months later, there she sat, in the funeral parlor. His daughter had called her, even after all those years, to let her know.
It didn't surprise her, but it broke her heart, finally. The maybe was gone. There was no more hope that he would get better, that she had given him enough space.
She knew it would be like this, the whole time. She knew life isn't a movie, it isn't magical unless you believe it is. He never believed. He didn't want to. He saw her, in all her magic, and didn't want to accept it.
A tear fell on her hand. She watched it roll, slowly.
Eventually, she got up. She walked over to the pine box, the final punctuation in their story.
Reaching behind her neck, she unclasped the necklace. It was the last gift he gave her, days before they walked away from the best thing. She set it on his chest, over the gold tie pin she had given him for his birthday that year.
As she walked away from the hope, she felt the goneness wash over her and swallow her whole.