The man comes back to where he started his journey, the place he was familiar with, the place he had lived for 18 years. So many things have changed: the old brick houses had been pulled down. The narrow crowed alleys had been abandoned, only birds live there. Skyscrapers grow in the soil which used to belong to those shabby houses and small alleys. His hometown has changed, so does him.
He was not the eighteen-year old boy anymore. Away from his home for over ten years, he has been rounded by life, doing boring jobs day after day, following leader’s orders, living carefully enough to get along well with all the people around him.
Walking through the street, the man stops at a corner. He remembers the place, the place that he said farewell to the girl, who was stay in the deepest place in his heart.
He remembers the first day they met. It was in the first class in high school. The class room is noisy, and he could feel the excitement in the air. Then he saw the girl, walking into the classroom. His heart skipped a beat. All the noise faded away in that moment. She had a shoulder-length hair in beautiful chestnut color. He loved the color, the color of autumn.
In the second year in high school, he told the girl he loved her. The girl hugged him, saying, “I love you too.”
They spent lots of time staying together. They did short trips together on the free weekends to other cities and towns nearby, where no one could recognize them. They kissed slowly in the sunshine and wind in spring. They hugged tight near the river in autumn.
He remembers everything: the morning bus drove to another city. The wind leaked from the window. The tips of girl’s hair were blown by the wind. Two hands held together, fingers cross fingers. The girl fell asleep, leaning on the boy’s shoulder. The girl’s warm breath blew on the boy’s face. The boy watched the girl's face, patting her head.
He also remembers the day they said farewell to each other. They stood in the corner of the alley. Both of them were about to go to different cities for university. The boy said goodbye. The girl hugged him once again. She smiled, but the boy saw the tears in her eyes.
“Take care,” she said, “don’t forget me.”
“I won’t,” the boy said.
The man covers his face. The tears come out from the deepest place of his heart.
But there is no way back.
He has changed.
So has the girl.