They couldn't believe this was happening. Peter was moving and no one would even tell them why. They had been best friends their whole lives and had rarely spent a moment apart. What would happen, ...
"It's really tomorrow, isn't it?" Madison's voice broke the silence, and Pete's eyes closed.
"Yeah." He frowned slightly, tightening his grip on her. In only a few hours, Pete's family was going to pick up everything they had in Chicago and move themselves to what seemed like a million miles away. In reality, it was only to New York, but when you're seventeen and in love, any more distance is that much more heart ache. Pete hadn't even left yet, and they were feeling the effects.
"Your mom is going to kill you for being out so late." She mumbled, giving voice to what she was thinking, but not wanting to say it. She wanted nothing more than to stay like that, for the rest of their lives. With his arms around her, in the cold park. It was nothing short of ridiculous, his family's timing. They wouldn't even have a last Christmas together. It was only a week away. Couldn't they have that?
"She thinks I'm in bed. She'll get mad when she realizes, but this is much more important...I think she knows that." He said, opening his eyes and looking at the snow falling. It was so picturesque that it almost hurt. He didn't want to think of life without Madison. As neighbors, he'd known her all his life. They ran around in diapers together, became teenagers together, got into high school together...how could he ever survive without her?
"I'm going to miss you so much." Madison said, almost whimpering. She held onto him, burying her face in his jacket. Her nose was starting to sting from the sheer cold. Her falling tears weren't helping matters.
"Shh..." He hushed her, shaking his head, "We have a few hours left. I'm not leaving you until I'm leaving Chicago."
"But, you're leaving. Why can't you stay until the end of senior year, at least? Why do you have to leave me?"
"We've talked about this, Maddie. I'm not leaving you. Not like that..."
"I know. I know. But, what's it going to be like with you not here?"
"I've been away before, remember?" He asked, smiling slightly with the memory, "When I went to camp that summer."
"And, it was terrible!"
"But, you wrote me every day. Think of it that way. You know we're going to see each other again. I could never leave here for good."
"I'm going to do that, again. But, I'll email."
"Could you write letters, too? I still have all the ones you sent me saved." He smiled at her and she couldn't help but smile.
"Of course. God, Pete...that was years ago."
"They meant a lot to me. I didn't want to be at that camp any more than I want to be in New York."
"You always said you wanted to see New York."
"Not like this, Maddie. And, I want to see it; not live there. You were supposed to be there with me when I saw New York."
"I'll be able to visit sometime, right?"
"If you can...I'd love for you to." He said, nodding slightly. Madison moved away from him and he looked up in surprise.
"Come swing with me." She said, over her shoulder, walking towards the swing set. He smiled and stood up, getting out of the snow and sitting in the swing next to her. Neither did much swinging, unless you count awkwardly shuffling their feet and kicking around some of the accumulating snow. They didn't count it either, "What are you ever going to do without our swing set, Pete?"
"I don't know." He looked down, at the white around his black shoes. The contrast hurt his eyes, and he looked up at the sky. The moon was full and almost orange. The cold made the sky so clear, though. Billions and billions of stars twinkled in the endless black, "It won't look like this in New York." He said bitterly.
"I'm sure it will..." She said, unsure but wanting to be the voice of optimism. She knew how much this move hurt the both of them. She didn't want it to hurt him any more than it had to. She had almost given in to the knowledge of how bad it would feel once he was really gone. Truly. Not the two of them sitting and talking about it, but when she didn't have him to talk to. Where was her boyfriend going? More importantly, where was her best friend going? Madison, having grown up with a friend all her life, never made it that much of a point to make any more friends. The occasional friend would pop in here and there, but they could never compare to Pete. No other guy could ever compare. So, why bother looking? She had all she needed right here.
But, now, all she needed was going to be in New York.
"With all the pollution? Give me a break."
"I don't want to talk about this." She said suddenly, biting on her lip.
"Sorry." He said offhandedly, but meant it. His moving meant so much more than leaving his hometown and leaving his friends. It meant leaving his heart behind. While he stayed in New York [He refused to think of it as living there. He was only 'staying' there], they were going to still be together. He knew their relationship could stand the distance test. There was no doubt in his mind.
"Just enjoy it while you're here, would you?" She asked, looking up at the sky, as well. Madison had a habit of saying something other than what she meant. By 'it', she really meant 'me'. While Peter was sure that they were survive as a long distance couple, she wasn't so sure. She hated to think this way, but how else could she? How could they possibly know they could live with the distance? She had never lived more than a few feet from him. This was a huge step for them. A big change that would test their relationship like nothing ever had. Could they do it?
"I love you." He said, reaching out and taking her hand.
"I love you, too." She said, without hesitation. They both hesitated on what to say next. It was back to kicking the snow around.
"C'mere." Pete said, getting up off the swing. He held her hand tight in his, and walked her over to a bench. As it was underneath a tree, the snow didn't get to it. It was possibly the only clean area in the whole park. They sat down, very close to one another. Partly for warmth, but mostly because they didn't know the next time they could be so close. He had his arms around her, hugging her to his body like a child would to a stuffed animal. She brought him the same sense of security.
Madison smiled, content with him. She pulled a camera out of her pocket - an early birthday gift from Pete - and pointed it at them. As she snapped the shot, he smiled and kissed the top of her head. The beauty of a digital camera is that you can see the picture you've just taken and decide whether or not it was up to par. She was almost taken a back by how perfect it looked. There they both were, a smiling couple. In the picture, you could see the snow in her dark hair. Everything about it was beautiful. Putting the camera back in her pocket, she smiled and got closer to him.
It didn't take long for them to fall asleep, after having gone from the biting cold to the drowsy warmth of each other's body heat. Three o'clock in the morning, and no one passed by the park. It was only the two kids, sleeping peacefully in the last few hours they had. And, this moment in time stood as a symbol to them, even if they weren't conscious of it. Them alone in the park symbolized how they saw themselves: alone in the world.
As pure a love as they felt for each other, no one thought it would last. They couldn't see how as they had been together in one way or another over the span of their entire lives, but no body could bring themselves to see just how much they meant to one another. It was almost a life or death thing. Romeo and Juliet. But, this wasn't supposed to end in tragedy. The couple couldn't allow that. Madison and Peter chalked it up to the world never having felt a love like theirs'. And, it wasn't hard to see how. They'd never felt more strongly about anything. This was destiny and neither one cared about how corny that was. Corny or not, it was true and that was the end of it.
The sun took it's time rising and they would have been grateful for that, had they been awake. But, by the time they did finally stir, the sun had been up for some time, and the snow was beginning to melt. The beauty of a winter's night was ruined, and slushy snow was throw haphazardly in it's place. Where was the fluffy white snow that fell so silently last night? Where was the biting chill that seemed so easily beaten by the warmth of another? Morning was finally here and there was no reason to be so close. It was warmer and there was no beauty to enjoy. Just the harsh realization of time wasted, beauty destroyed, and a plane that was taking off in a couple of hours.
"I have to get home." Peter said, both anxiously and hesitantly. He knew he had to be in bed by the time his mother came to check on him, but he didn't want to leave her.
"I know." She nodded, getting up quickly.
They walked in almost near silence all the way to their houses. Neither could tell whether it was an awkward or a comfortable silence. Madison decided it was the kind of silence where you feel awkward, but you couldn't choose a better person to feel awkward with, knowing they felt just as awkward as you did. After kissing him for what she knew could be the last time, she watched Peter go in through the basement window. He waved at her, once inside, and blew a kiss to her. She smiled slightly, though she couldn't help the tears. It was happening. She was losing him.
Madison didn't bother sneaking into her house. She marched herself through the front door and up to her room, knowing no one would dare to bother her when she was so upset. She laid on her bed, playing music to calm her down. It only worsened the situation when she realized she could listen to nothing without it somehow making her think of Pete. Nothing. She turned it off and looked out the window, replaying last night in her head. It was so beautiful, but it was over. She was scared that they would be over as well. It couldn't happen. She had to stop thinking that way.
An hour later, she heard a car start up. She looked out her window and locked eyes with Pete as he left his house. She saw the tear lines down his face and it almost killed her. He mouthed 'I love you' and she returned it, blowing him a kiss. He got in the car and drove away, the both of them knowing that it would be a good long time before they saw one another again.
Pete looked out the window of the car, not hiding at all how completely miserable he was. His family assured him that he would make new friends and that everything would be fine, but he knew it would be far from it. He didn't want new friends. He wanted Madison. Nothing would be fine again until he was in Chicago, where he belonged. New York was not his home as much as it was any one else's in his family. They never even explained to him why they were moving. Just that they thought it was best. Best for who?
Madison woke up hours later, after forcing herself to sleep. She didn't want to think about what was going on. Only after a few moments did she realize that she was still wearing her jacket. Out of the pocket, she retrieved her camera. She turned it on and the picture from the night before appeared, reminding her of how beautiful it all was. Not just last night, but their whole relationship. It was a wonderful thing they both shared and not even a move would come between them.
She stood up and walked over to her computer, turning on the monitor and smiling to see that she was still online. She hooked up the camera to the computer, uploading the pictures. At least a couple of dozen shots of her and Pete flooded the screen, one after the other. She couldn't quite place how it made her feel, but it wasn't the aching pain she had felt earlier. It was a bit...numbed, if that was the word.
After she had everything sorted and in it's proper folder, she sat silently, looking at the screen. She sort of zoned out, with all the thoughts in her head, when a message box popped up, scaring her.
Wentz x yo: im in ny. it sucks here w/o u. i love u.
MaddieForxYou: I love you, too. Are you on your phone, or do you have your Internet hooked up that fast? lol
Wentz x yo: phone lol id hook it up 2 talk 2 u tho.
MaddieForxYou: Aww, thanks. Tell me when you get it hooked up. I hate your phone shorthand.
Wentz x yo: im lazy leave me alone
Wentz x yo: dont i kno it. moms yelling, ill ttyl.
MaddieForxYou: Okay, I love you. Thanks for IMing me. I miss you already. =[
Wentz x yo: i miss u 2 :( i love u. bye
She closed the IM, smiling contentedly to herself. What was she thinking? She wasn't going to lose him. This was just like camp. He'd be back in no time, and she'd forget he was ever gone. In the mean time, she'd better keep up her side of things. She printed out the picture from last night and put it in a frame, throwing the original picture to the side. She set it up on her desk and pulled out some paper, trying to think of a way to start the letter. Madison smiled with the knowledge that, whatever happened, she would carry that one night within her, forever.