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He loses his first kiss in autumn. He's twelve, she's just turned thirteen, and at the time he isn't sure what all the fuss is about but knows how special it is anyway.

She's gorgeous, pale-skin, brown hair, dark eyes always filled with happiness and joy the way he wishes he could be. She doesn't want to be there any more than he does, and they grouse to each other about how they don't need a 'special school.' It's the first time he's worked up the courage to say it.

She carries a book too, just like his sketchbook, but she says it's a diary. It's hung with a little lock on the front and he jokes about it being the key to her heart, a little boy's poor attempt at flirting but she laughs anyway. He wants to hear that laugh again, and he does, when he shyly asks if he can draw her.

It's half-way through his sketch that she leans in and presses her soft lips to his. It's a little clumsy and awkward, given how she's standing up and he's cross-legged on the ground, and nowhere as romantic like he'd thought but still somehow just as he'd imagined.

He's going to marry her, he decides. Marry her, and live in a big house on a hill with a chair out the front where he can sit with his sketchbook and a set of swings in the yard for their children. He'll be an artist and she'll be a teacher, and all the schoolchildren will love her just as he does.

A gust of cool wind blows by as she pulls back and stands straight again. He lets out a little chuckle as a orange-red leaf catches in her hair, raising a hand to pluck it out before letting his pencil flow across the page once more.

Only a few weeks later he doesn't understand why she left, where she went. But the news, the reports of war are getting worse, and there are bigger things to worry about.

A few months later, his parents tell him they're moving to America. And that's that.

Time passes. He remembers the kiss, the day, and the girl, and he wonders if she'll be alright. But he's growing up now, there's no time to think about first crushes. Not when the world is in uproar over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

His father talks him into enlisting. Times still aren't good, it's always a noble cause defending the people. Heaven knows someone needs to do it after all that's happened. It's not like he's got any other skills for after high school.

On the morning he's planning to go to the recruitment office, he wakes up slumped at his desk, fingers still clutching the pen he was using to fill in his forms. The window is open from the previous night, and a slight morning breeze wafts a handful of loose debris from the yellow tree outside in onto the bare floorboards. He puts down the pen.

He throws the forms into the trash and tells his parents he's moving out. The next week he enrols himself in an art college.

It's decades later that he walks past a window and sees the book that hits him like a punch in the gut. He buys it, despite barely having enough for rent, takes it home and doesn't try to stop the tears when they come.

He digs out the bundle of papers from the old storage boxes he never saw the point of unpacking, useless piles of junk from his childhood that he holds onto who knows why, and pulls out a torn page from the very bottom of the pile. Folded with it is a thin, pressed, no-longer-gold leaf.

They say there are some things in life that stick with you no matter where you go, how many years pass you by. Things that shape you without you even realising. There are always the curious ones who ask him what it was like to live in the thick of it during the war, and he tells them.

But he doesn't tell them about the house on the hill, or the swings, or that bright autumn day.

He still lets himself dream, every now and then. Some people may shake their heads and mutter about letting go, leaving fantasy behind, but really it's the other way around. Because he knows its not real, and that's why he can't forget.

But sometimes, somewhere, in some other pane of reality, he imagines it coming true.

"What's your last name?" He gestures to the slate-grey lines criss-crossing the waxy paper. "So I can write a caption, just like in a gallery, see?"

And she smiles that beautiful smile of hers that he'll remember as long as he lives.

"It's Frank," she says, reaching forward to write it for him. "Here. Anne Frank."
During World War II, countries under Nazi occupation forced Jewish children to attend segregated schools.

Inspired by [link] by ~katiebug6025 for a Contest at #My-Soul-Bleeds-Ink.

EDIT October 7 2012: I won! [link]

EDIT September 26 2012: My fourth DLD! [link]

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SurrealCachinnation Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2013   Writer
Beautiful and bittersweet.
Aitheos Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
oh my god i love this :stare:
hetaliatardis Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This reminds me of the book The Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet.
Lacewinged-Beauty Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013   Writer

My god ... You just tore out my heart :cries:
Katycartoonfan3 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Awww!! x3 That was so cute and so sweet and so sad at the same time! :cries: And when he found the book, I was confused but now I get it and now I know that's when he realized he was never going to see her again sad! And the name at the end was just..I couldn't believe it! :crying:
This is so beautiful. :happy cry:
Sigma-Echo-Seven Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012  Student Writer
Marvelous. Truly, hauntingly beautiful.
RussianTim Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2012  Student Writer
This was truly wonderful. The sad and so perfect.
Comic-Ninja-Whoot Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Tears in my eyes. It's not an easy thing to do, but you have. This is the type of thing I aspire to write. Would you mind if I put this in a journal to show my watchers what a moving story it is?
Treo-LeGigeo Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012   Writer
Thank you so much! And I certainly wouldn't mind :-) Glad you enjoyed.
Ekinawa Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012  Student Writer
Congratulaion on first place :D
jessica35 Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012
congrats on first place :clap:!
RainyhawaiiV2 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Your work has been featured, take a look: [link]
Treo-LeGigeo Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012   Writer
Thanks :-)
RainyhawaiiV2 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You're very welcome.
one-more-emily Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012   General Artist
is it normal to have a tear escape your eye at the end? that was amazing <3
edibility Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012  Hobbyist
It's rare that a piece makes me shiver. This managed to do so before I hit the half way point. It's stunning.
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012   Writer
:iconcongratulationplz: on your DLD! This story is moving and mysterious, just like war and peace, the reality of it, not meaning the book but meaning your own story and that of this girl and the shy artist. Thank you and :+fav:

There's a typo when you first mention 'a set of swing[s]' and possibly a second one I forgot. It's a very fine story any way.
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by =DailyLitDeviations in a news article that can be found here: [link]

Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article. Keep writing and keep creating.
Treo-LeGigeo Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012   Writer
Thank you so much!
DessertsAreStressed Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2012  Student Writer
Oh, my, that's beautiful!!!! Amazing job! I love this.
Nemononiam Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
!! I love it.
CCKins Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh my God, this is an amazing story. I don't usually like war stories that have real people from the wars, but you just pulled this off so well! Great piece of work here. :happycry:

The only mistake I saw though was 'And she smiles that beautiful smile of his...' Where you should have put that beautiful smile of hers'.
Treo-LeGigeo Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012   Writer
Nice hear! And, oops, thanks for that.
CCKins Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, no problem!
VladmiesserDiVisker Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This made me want to cry. So well written, so beautiful, and so heartfelt. I love it, the childish innocence in the beginning and then the sadness in the end when we understand what it's all about... I love this so, so much, and thank you for writing it.
aldwarke Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012
This is beautifully conceived and well written.
Jelani921 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ho. Ly. CRAP. This is the SWEETEST story! You had me hooked from the very first sentence and pulled me on into the story as it went on. Then the last bit came and it said "Anne Frank" and I was like


WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! :crying: :crying: :crying: :crying:

SO SAAAAD! wow, I keep rereading it and I find something new every time. SO good. Keep up the good work!
Treo-LeGigeo Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012   Writer
Wow, thanks very much. Glad you liked it!
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