10/14/2011 11:08 am ET | Updated Dec 14, 2011

This is a regular column featuring original fiction by and for high school students, provided by, an online community writing site for young people.

She's gone.

I honestly, honestly can't believe it.

She promised she wouldn't leave.

And all I have left is one photograph. She made me delete all the others. "I'm too fat," she said. "I look like a slut in this one." "How could you love such an ugly girl?"

She was always beautiful to me.

That last picture. The one now plastered all over the city, covering wall after wall, street after street. "Have you seen this girl?"

It's been a week.

The wind whips my hair to and fro, and I can't see anymore. Does it matter? All I want to see is her.

Her last words brush my cold lips: "I'll be waiting."

I can still see the raven waves of her glossy black hair tumbling down her shoulders as she left school; still envision her confident smile as she breezed through the hallways; still hear the bright peals of laughter as she walked past with her friends; still catch the slightest trace of her sweet scent, unmistakable through the constant cloud of unfamiliar smells.

Now, there is nothing left.

I don't care who she was, what happened before, how she viewed herself. She was, is, everything.

I knew of her plans to leave, but I never spoke of them. Never asked. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

The problem was, I never thought she'd actually follow through. And leave me. Little, old, forgettable me.

She told me once. Told me she was running away from her past. If she left it all behind, she could start over. "Come with me," She pleaded. "It'd be just the two of us. Two of us against the world. Who needs family, friends? We have love. We have each other. "

Did she know how badly I wanted to? Just the two of us. Together. Togethertogethertogether replays through my mind, like a stupid radio song. Except... I want to hear this. It's my last reminder of her. Even though the last thing I really need is to be reminded of her.

But I couldn't say yes, no matter how much I wanted to be with her. Needed, even.

We never said good-bye. Good-byes mean ends. I'm just another loose end in her life, I suppose. And even though she said she understood, I could see the confusion in her eyes. Yes, I thought our love was strong enough too, but there's too much for me to leave behind. I'm just not that strong; not that ready. I probably won't ever be, and that will be my biggest mistake.

All that's left, ever, is this photograph. It's such a beautiful photograph. Yet, it's tainted with sadness, damp from the slightest of tears, and soaked through with the greatest of regret.

Now, it's too late to grasp what my future might have held, and all that is left for me to do is wait in the lonely past for her to return to the deprived present.

Katherine Sham, 14, Thousand Oaks, California

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