posted on 14-Dec-2002 1:22:45 AM
Title: Snow Angels Always Disappear
Author: ISLANDGIRL5
Category: M/L, AU, Part 1 of 2
Disclaimer: I own nothing but this story. And the horribly gloomy mood I’m in right now.
Summary: You’ll have to read this one to find out.
Author’s Note: I was in a gloomy mood. It’s icy, and 20 degrees outside. My emotions inspire me, so this is what came out.
Feedback: Of course. Please. Cheer me up!

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A very special thanks to DreamingofMax84 (the first one) and LolitaBehrbuns (the second one) for their awesome banners. Thanks, girlies!


~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I’ve known her since I was born. Our parents were best friends in High School, and their friendship continued after they had families of their own. There are actually pictures of us taking a bath together when we were barely walking. Our parents thought it was cute.

Like I said. I’ve known Liz Parker since before I can remember. But it was snowing the day I really met her. And oddly enough, it was snowing the day she left me.

I guess we were what you’d consider best friends when we were younger. Liz, our friends Michael and Tess Harding, Isabel, my sister, our cousins Maria and Alex Deluca, and our neighbor, Kyle Valenti. We all lived on Rochester Lane, in the mountains of North Carolina. Growing up for us was like the Wonder Years. We stayed on the same street, and never changed as the world around us evolved. We used to go to birthday parties at Pizza planet, and play those silly pin the pepperoni on Captain Cheese games. We used to play in the sandbox, and eat each other’s mud pies. We were your normal, everyday four year olds. We were the Eight Musketeers, and we thought we’d be friends forever. Until something happened that would eventually change us all.

Liz got a cold, and for weeks, she wasn’t allowed to come out and play with us. But in the mind of a four year old, it felt like forever. We forgot her, and forgot all about the fun we used to have. Life went on like normal, for everyone except a doe eyed, brown haired four year old, who had been dealt an unfair hand in the game of life. We often wondered what had happened to our playmate as we grew up, but soon she just faded from our minds. We were 7 when our parents told us the truth.

Mom and Dad sat Isabel and I down, and told us what had happened to little Liz Parker. Her ‘cold’ had turned out to be something much worse. She had been taken to the hospital, and the doctors discovered she had a rare form of cancer. In her eyes. They had done everything they could for her, but the cancer had eaten away at her until she was blind. The cancer was in remission, and she wasn’t sick, but she still couldn’t see. She would never see again. And to a 7 year old, that was something uncomprehendable.

Isabel cried for days, because Liz would never see the sky, or the snow, or the trees, or The Fresh Prince of Bel Air ever again. I didn’t know what to do. So I crawled up into my tree house, and sat there for hours by myself, until Michael, Kyle, and Alex eventually came up to join me. Their parents had told them, and since our house was the biggest and the one where we always played, everyone ended up there. We didn’t know why a doctor couldn’t make Liz’s eyes better, or why it made all the girls cry. We closed our eyes, and sat there all day, trying to imagine the world as Liz must see it.

After that, life for us went on as usual. We saw the Parkers, and they still visited, but since Liz was home-schooled, holidays were the only time we ever saw her. She always looked the same. A blank stare on her face, plain clothes, and her long dark hair pulled back into a neat ponytail. The girls visited her at home, and spoke to her on the phone, but for them, it was hard to carry on a normal conversation. They didn’t know what to say to her.

Once, when we were 13, Isabel cried for hours after a particularly short conversation with Liz. I tried to get her to tell me what was wrong, and after endless begging, she told me through her puffy red eyes. She had been talking to Liz about Pam Troy’s new reputation and what she had worn to the first day of school. ‘Oh my gosh, Liz, you should have seen it!’, she’d said. And she was mortified. She’d hung up the phone as quickly as she could, and had cried herself to sleep after she talked to me.

Middle School came and went, and High School started. High school was amazing. Popularity became everyone’s number one concern. People wanted to be popular, and where you were on the school social ladder determined how everyone looked at you. And I, Max Evans, was the leader of the pack. I was it. The main man on campus. My friends tried to be popular, but it was only me that made the cut.

Everyone in our group eventually became part of a couple, except for me. Maria had Michael, Kyle had Tess, and Isabel had Alex. They had all found the love of their life. Me? I had every girl at Winston High at my beck and call, and I ate up every minute of it. None of them ever lasted, or became serious, but the field was mine, and I loved playing it. I was the only one who reveled in being popular. The others just were, and tried to shy themselves away from the spotlight, which only made them more popular. But I loved every second of it.

The more popular I got, though, the further away from my friends I got. They accused me of letting school politics go to my head. They told me I was egotistical, and that I was stuck up and snobby. I told them they were full of crap.

We were all still friends, but hung with different crowds. We didn’t hang out on our free time, but were always thrown together at holiday gatherings, and always managed to have fun. But when the holiday was over, I was back to being popular Max Evans, and they were back to resenting me. Deep down, I suspected the reason they all resented me was because I was more popular then them. They too wanted to be cool and popular, but weren’t. They wanted to be everything I was, but they never were.

And pretty soon, we all forgot about Liz Parker. As popularity and being cool became more important to us, we loosened our hold on the girl who had once been part of our family. The girls stopped going to see her, and eventually stopped calling her. And it wasn’t long before Liz stopped showing up at holiday gatherings with her parents. Not that we ever noticed. We were always too busy and having too much fun to realize that while were happy and celebrating, Liz was all alone, in her room, waiting for her parents to bring her home some left over pumpkin pie or cold apple cider.

When the rumors started, we kept our mouths shut. We didn’t talk about her, but we didn’t defend her either. We just stood there and listened as the people around us whispered passed on made up stories about the girl at 742 Rochester Lane. The one whose parents kept her locked in her room. We didn’t speak up as the kids who practically worshipped the ground we walked on and hung on our every word whispered cruel rumors about her. We were too ashamed to tell them that we had once considered the mysterious Liz Parker our friend.

I can only imagine what went through her mind during those few years. The only friends she’d ever had abandoned her. I don’t know if she knew what people were saying about her. I just know how alone she must have been, up there in her room while life passed her by. How sad she must have been that the only friends she’d ever know were ashamed to know her.

The Christmas of our Senior Year, North Carolina was hit with the biggest snow storm the East had ever seen. It was our first snow in almost fourteen years, and the first White Christmas in twenty. The snow brought out the kid in all of us. We all wanted to go outside and play in the snow. Imagine that. Winston High’s finest, knee deep in snow and organizing snow-man building contests.

For once, we put school politics away and became friends. While we were outside planning a trip to the park to do some sledding, mom called all of us in the house for some hot chocolate. She had something to ask us.

So we all filed in, took off layers of clothes, and warmed up with some steaming hot chocolate. Then mom broke her news. The Parkers had called. Liz wanted to play in the snow. And they wanted to know if we would take her out.

I looked around at my friends, and saw all the girls staring at mom with open-mouthed expressions. The guys were staring at me, pleading with me through their expressions to give my mom an excuse.

“No!” I said.

“Now Max, listen-”

“No mom, I won’t listen! Every kid from school will be there. What would people say? We can’t have her tagging along!”

Mom looked at the girls, and back and forth between us guys, her eyes watering with tears. “Kids, Liz Parker was once your friend. She was part of our family, for goodness sake. It’s not her fault life has been cruel to her. What happened to Liz was beyond her control. But she’s a normal 17 year old, just like each one of you. She just can’t see. Liz has been in that house without coming out for almost four years. This time, she asked to come out. And you are the only people she knows. Please, just this once.”

“We’ve been so mean to her,” Maria said softly. “We just…forgot her.”

“Liz doesn’t hold anything against you. She asked if she could come out. And she asked if it could be with you all. She hasn’t been out without her parents for a long time. She needs someone she can trust to help her. And she trusts you. She doesn’t know anyone else. Please, she just wants to play in the snow.”

“We’ll go,” Isabel said. “We’ll go get her.”

I threw Isabel a look, and she stared me down.

“All of us,” she said.

“Isabel-”

“Max Evans, you should be ashamed of yourself!” Maria said. “Liz Parker is a human being, and for the last four years, we have treated her as anything but! She used to be your friend, for goodness sake! You will go with us, and you will be nice to her. And if any of ‘those kids’ say anything about her, I’ll deck them one right in their stuck up little noses. And you sure as heck better back me up!”

“But-”

“No buts, Max,” Isabel said, coming to Maria’s aid. “For once, your popularity will be on the back burner. Today, we make Liz Parker our friend again.”

“Isabel-”

“What happened to you, Max? You used to be kind, and caring, and someone I was proud to call my brother. Now you’re cocky and arrogant, and you’ve let popularity give you a big head. You think that all your girlfriends and the people who fall at your feet will be your friends forever? Well you are wrong. The friends that matter the most are right here in this room, and in the house across the street. After the way we let her down, Liz still wants to be friends with us. And I’ll be darned if I’m not going to make up for lost time!”

I groaned, and started to argue, but realized it was a lost cause. The girls were already huddled up, giggling and whispering about how much fun it was going to be to see Liz again. Even Alex, Michael and Kyle were joining in the conversation. I was the odd man out. And I was mad.

An hour later, we all stood on the Parker’s front porch, and Maria was about to ring the doorbell again when Mr. Parker opened the door.

“Hi Mr. P. Is Liz ready?” Maria asked. That was Maria. No leading into the conversation. No being polite and waiting for them to get Liz. Liz Parker was offering us a second chance at a friendship we should have never let fizzle in the first place. And Maria was going to make sure wall made the best of it.

Jefferey shook his head, and greeted us all. “Nancy’s helping her. She’ll be done in a minute. You guys want to come in?”

The girls went in, to wait for Liz, but the guys and I stayed outside.

“I can’t believe we’re doing this!” I said.

“Give it a rest, Maxwell. The girls want to do it, and I don’t see what the big deal is,” Michael said.

“The big deal is that the whole school thinks Liz Parker is some kind of freak. What will they think when we show up with her?”

“Max, who cares?” Kyle said, shrugging his shoulders. “Dude, all you ever think about anymore is what other people will think. Who cares what other people think? Isabel was right. You’ve changed, man.”

“I have not,” I said defending myself.

“We used to be cool, man. Now all you want to do is run with your rich, snobby friends and your girl of the week. You used to be our friend. Now all you want to be is popular,” Michael said.

“Whatever,” I said. “I don’t need this. And I definitely don’t need you guys.” I headed back down the porch steps, and was on the bottom step when the door of the Parker home opened, and everyone started talking at once. I turned around to see what was happening, and I’ve never been the same since.

Tess was standing just outside the doorway, Kyle behind her, talking and laughing to the others inside the house. Michael and Alex were on the other side of the doorway, looking inside.

Maria and Isabel were coming out of the Parker home, each one holding on to the arm of the most beautiful girl I’ve ever laid my eyes on. It had been four years since I’d seen Liz Parker, and she had turned into a beautiful vision of pure innocence.

Her long dark hair flowed like silk from beneath her pink toboggan, and it shimmered in the bright light of a winter sun. Her brown doe eyes stared straight ahead, blank and unseeing, but sparkling nonetheless. Her flawless skin glowed with a healthy shine, and her cheeks were already rosy from the cold. And her smile. I could have sworn her smile was brighter than the sun itself.

I blinked my eyes, and was sure I was dreaming, and was going to turn around and head right back home. Then I heard her laugh. How do you explain a sound that sounds as sweet as a child’s laugh, but as soft and gentle as a woman’s? How do you put into words a sound that drowns out everything else with it’s youthfulness and exuberance? With three words. Liz Parker’s laugh.

At that exact moment, I felt every rational though drain from my body. If someone had asked me right then what my name was, I probably couldn’t have told them. All I could see, or hear, or think, was Liz. Out of all the girls I’d ever dated, and that had been a lot, none had ever made my heart race like Liz did in that one single moment I laid eyes on her. My body was tingling, from the inside out, and I was having trouble breathing.

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk. All I could do was breathe. And watch as they led her out the door. They stopped, so everyone could say Hi to her, and they all hugged her and told her how much they’d missed her. I watched, as she hugged them back, and greeted them all as if they’d never been gone. I watched as Maria and Tess grabbed her arms and helped her to the top of the steps. I watched as Liz politely shook her arm away, and told them she could make it down the steps herself.

Isabel and Tess protested, but Liz insisted.

“I can’t see, but I know this house. I know these steps. Please, let me do it myself. I haven’t been out in so long, I want to walk down by myself,” she said.

And I watched still as everyone became silent and watched as Liz carefully reached out one gloved hand and took hold of the stair rail. We all held our breath, praying silently she’d make it down. And she almost did. She passed the first step, then tentatively reached her foot to the second step, then the third. When she reached the next to last step, her foot slipped on an icy patch, and as everyone caught their breath, Liz Parker lost her balance, and fell.

I saw her falling, and reached out my arms. In the five minutes since Liz had stepped out of the house, I hadn’t been able to move. But when I saw her slip, without realizing it, I found myself at the bottom of the steps, breaking her fall.

I caught her under her shoulders, and breathed in the scent of her strawberry shampoo. If it hadn’t been for the simple fact that I was holding her up, I probably would have passed out right there from sheer excitement. But Liz was leaning on me, and I was going to hold her up. I felt her straighten up, and her hands grabbed my shoulders as she pushed herself into a standing position.

“Max?” she whispered.

“Hi, Liz,” I said. It was all I could think to say.

“You came,” she said.

I nodded my head, still unable to speak, and I guess she could feel my movements and knew what I was doing. What had come over me? Max Evans, unable to talk?

I saw a small smile grace her features, and I could have sworn we stood there for ever.

“Well, then, boys and girls, we have a date with some snow, what do you say?” Alex’s suddenly annoying voice broke the moment, and I shook my head, realizing I was making a fool of myself, staring like and idiot at Liz.

Everyone came down from the porch to stand around us.

“You ready, Liz?” Maria asked.

Liz’s smile brightened tenfold, and she turned her head towards the sound of Maria’s voice. “Are we going to the park?” she asked.

“We sure are, and we are going to have the time of our lives! Now, on to the park!” Maria said, pointing in the direction of Winston Park, marching with Michael in tow.

I started to walk away, and follow them, when I realized Liz’s hands were still on my shoulders.

“Max?” she asked. “Can you walk with me?”

“Y-yeah,” I stuttered.

She smiled again, and grabbed linked her arm in mine, and we followed everyone else to the park.

It only took twenty minutes to walk from our houses to the park, but that day, it took us over half an hour. Everyone went a little slower, and would stop to throw a few snowballs along the way, so that they could wait for me and Liz. I helped her navigate across the streets, and up and down the curbs. I steered her away from icy patches, and held her steady over the uneven mounds of snow. We chatted along the way, all of us, as we filled Liz in on what had been going on around her, and we listened as she told us how she spent her spare time.

All I was thinking about was hoping Liz would have a good time. The whole time, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the girl hanging on my arm. I’d never been more enthralled with someone in my whole life, and I couldn’t stop staring. I looked up once, and Isabel and Michael were whispering to each other, both of them staring at me with goofy looks on their faces.

“What?” I mouthed to them.

They both just smiled at me, and shook their heads, then looked away.

Before I knew it, we were at the park. As we made our way to a clear spot in the snow, so we could have some fun, the few people from school who remembered Liz Parker stopped to stare. There parents had probably told them what had happened to her, and they all stopped to stare and the poor little blind girl. And true to her word, Maria threatened each and every one of them.

“Are people staring at me?” Liz whispered, leaning her head in towards my shoulder, considering the fact I was a good head taller than her.

“No,” I said. “They’re staring at us.”

I felt my knees go weak once again when she smiled at me.

For the next hour, we were all four years old again. We threw snow balls, and despite the fact that she was blind, Liz Parker had good aim. She used the sound of our voices, and nine times out of ten, hit her target dead on. And somehow, she could dodge the ones we threw at her. At the time, I would have sworn she could see. She managed to dodge 9 out of 10 that we threw her way. We all watched her, and when she started to navigate from within our safe little area, we would gently steer her back towards us. We were carefree, and young again, and for a while, we even forgot Liz was different.

For a while.

We were having fun, laughing, and playing, and being kids again, when we decided to take a break. We stopped at one of the picnic tables, half of us sat down, and half of us stood up. Liz stood at the end of the table, between me and Michael, and we all joined in the conversation. We were telling jokes and laughing, and every so often, Liz would reach out and grab my arm to steady herself when she doubled over in laughter. When Michael said something smart to me, I walked around Liz to grab him, and Liz stepped back from our play fight, giggling with everyone else.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone approaching, and when I looked up, I saw who it was. She had a vindictive look in her eye, and I knew instinctively where she was headed. I tried to get Michael to let me go, but I couldn’t say anything. Michael just thought I was still playing, so he held tight.

Until Liz landed face up in the snow.

Michael let me go, and I straightened up, and well just kind of stared at each other. Shocked that she would stoop so low, and waiting to see what the others were going to do.

“Oh, excuse, me, Liz Parker,” she said, in that annoyingly squeaky voice of hers. “I didn’t see you there. But, oh, I forgot you couldn’t see me either!”

Pam turned around and her gaggle of girls snickered and laughed.

“Oh, and just so you know, Max Evans is way out of your league, so you better not even try.”

I narrowed my eyes, and felt everyone else looking at me. Out of all the girls in school, Pam Troy was the only who’d chased after me that I had never taken out. Her squeaky voice and clothes that left nothing to the imagination had always made me sick. Not to mention the fact that you could smell her cheap perfume from a mile away. She never backed down, and she has never stopped chasing me. She gets jealous every time I have a new girl, and she’s made it no secret that she wants me and intends to get me one of these days.

Pam turned around once again to be praised by her followers.

“Hey Max,” she whined.

I ignored her, and walked over to her, where Liz was trying to get up out of the snow. I leaned down, and pulled her up by her hands, hugging her close to my body. I pulled her away from me, and took her face in my hands. “Liz, are you okay?” I asked softly.

She nodded silently, and I saw the tears form in her eyes. “Max, can you take me home?” She asked, not bothering to move away from me.

“Let’s go,” I said.

I took Liz’s arm, and led her away from the picnic table much to the dismay of a very angry Pam. As we walked away, I could hear Maria tearing into Pam for what she had done. Never before had I been so grateful for Maria’s spunkiness and attitude.

Liz and I walked in silence, except for when I was telling where to step and where to be careful, until we got to the end of the walkway leading up to the porch of her home. The whole time, I wanted to cry because of what had happened. And I wanted to stop and pound on every single thing we passed, because of what fate had done to Liz. But at the same time, I wanted to stop, and grab Liz, and pull her close, and never let her go. I wanted to kiss her, to see if her lips were as soft as they looked. There were a million emotions running through my body as I stared at her, and I couldn’t tell what a single one of them meant.

“We’re here, at your house, I mean,” I said.

She nodded, but made no move to walk up to the door.

“I’m sorry, Liz. Pam hates any girl I talk to. She did that because of me. It’s all my fault.” I said. I felt horrible. Liz had suffered because I didn’t want to date Pam. And I only hoped that Maria let her have it. Good.

Liz shook her head. “It’s not your fault, Max. I’m different. I know it, you know it, Pam knows it. People hate me because I’m different,” she said, her head down as if she was staring at her feet.

I cupped her chin, and turned her face back up to mine, even though I knew she couldn’t see me. “I don’t hate you, Liz,” I told her.

She took a deep breath and nodded. “I don’t want to go home. Can we…go sit on your porch for a while?” she asked.

“Yeah, we can,” I said.

I led her over to the porch, and we sat down on the swing.

We talked for what seemed like hours, about everyday things. I got to know the real Liz Parker. I found out her favorite band was the Goo Goo Dolls. I found out her favorite food was cheese pizza, and that we both liked Vanilla ice cream the best. I was amused to find out that she knew who the Golden Girls were by the sounds of their voices, and that she never missed ‘listening’ to an episode of Friends. I couldn’t believe that we had so much in common.

“What’s it like, Liz? Being blind?” It was out before I could think, and the minute I said it, I was mortified. I must have sucked in a deep breath, because Liz giggled softly and covered her mouth with her hand.

“It’s okay, Max. I don’t mind you asking. It’s okay, I guess. I’ve been blind longer than I was ever able to see, so it’s normal for me. Some things are a bit harder, and I go about things differently than others, but that’s it. Other than the fact that it’s dark for me 24/7, I’m just like you,” she said, poking me in the chest.

“Do you remember…anything?” I asked her.

“Do you remember when we were little, when I first got sick, and it had snowed all day?” she asked.

I mumbled a yes, and waited for her to go on.

“We had all gone out to play, and I remember making snow angels. I got up from the ground, and I can still see it. It was perfect. It looked just like a real angel. The snow was sparkling, and the sun was shining, and I remember seeing her wings, and her dress, and her perfect little round head in the snow. That’s the only thing I see when I close my eyes. My snow angel.”

“That’s amazing,” I said.

“It was so pretty. I could almost imagine she was real. I half expected her to flap her wings and fly right up at me. I’ll never forget that snow angel.”

Listening to Liz talk about her angel, an idea popped in my head. I stood up, and grabbed her hand.

“Come on,” I said.

“Where are we going?” she asked, confused.

“Just come on,” I told her.

I took her hand, and led her to the old oak tree behind my house.

“Lay down,” I said.

“Max, I-”

“It’s the only clear spot in the yard, Liz. You can make your snow angel,” I told her.

She took a deep breath, and hesitated for a minute. Then she turned around, and sat down in the snow. “Only if you make one too,” she said, softly.

“Okay.” I sat down a little ways to her right, and laid down in the snow, my arms outspread and my legs stretched out. I fanned my arms back and forth, and moved my legs in and out, and turned my head. Liz must have heard me moving, because she smiled, and lay back in the snow, her motions mimicking my own.

We must have laid there for minutes giggling, and fanning our arms and legs back and forth to make the perfect angels. Finally, I got up, and helped Liz to her feet. I turned to stare at the two angels, side by side in the snow, identical, except for the fact that mine was quite a bit bigger than hers. I had never seen anything so innocent looking in my life. That was the moment I understood why the image of the angel had stayed with Liz. It was so serene and pristine looking, and truly did look like an angel.

“I wish you could see them,” I whispered.

“I can, if you’ll help me,” she whispered back.

“How?”

She took off her gloves, and offered me a hand. “Can you help me down to my knees?”

I took her hand, and guided her down to her knees, right in the middle of her angel. I watched, in awe, as she reached out and felt for the outline of her angel. Then she used her hands to feel all the way around her angel, from her head to her wings, to her dress, back up the other side, until she found her fingers back at the top of the angel’s head.

And the entire time, she smiled the brightest smile I’d ever seen. When she got back to the angel’s head, she turned away from me, and I saw her shoulders shake. I was beside her in less than a second.

“Liz, what’s wrong?” I asked, pulling back the dark brown hair that was hanging down in front of her face. When she looked at me, I could have sworn she was looking straight into my eyes.

“No one’s ever done anything like this for me, before,” she said, a single tear rolling down her eyes.

“Well,” I said breathlessly. “What are friends for?”

A little while longer, I took Liz back home, and left only after she promised she’d take a walk with me the next day.

I went home then, and went straight to my room. For the rest of the night, all I could do was lay in bed and replay the day in my head over and over again.

How my pulse doubled when I’d first seen Liz coming out of the house. How I could feel the heat of her hand burning through my coat as I helped her walk to the park. How her eyes had almost sparkled as she sat on the ground in the middle of her snow angel.

Later on that night, I found myself unable to sleep. I got up, and went to the window seat in my room, and stared down at our back yard. And the oak tree with it’s pristine snow angels lying peacefully underneath.

I didn’t know what was happening to me, but one thing was certain.

I couldn’t get my mind off Liz Parker.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Dec-2002 1:25:54 AM ]
posted on 14-Dec-2002 1:27:07 AM

PS…the movie at the end, that Max can’t remember is Hope Floats.
And without further ado….

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Snow Angels Always Disappear, Part 2/2


The next morning, I couldn’t wait for breakfast to be over. I scarfed down my pancakes and gulped down my orange juice, earning me a warning look from my mother. I hardly involved myself in the usual breakfast table chatter, and even turned down the Comics page, which I always read first thing every morning. That earned me a ‘what are you up to?’ look from Isabel.

When it was finally over, I excused myself from the table, grabbed my coat, and walked across the street.

I knocked on the door, and Nancy answered, with a smile almost as bright as her daughter’s.

I had to wait for a few minutes, while Mrs. Parker helped Liz into her coat and gloves and toboggan, but the way I felt when I saw her was well worth the wait. I held out my arm to her, and she took it, turning back to her mother.

“We’re going to take a walk. We’ll be back soon,” she said.

Nancy smiled. “Take your time,” she said, looking straight at me. “Just be careful.”

It must have been hard, letting Liz go like that. After years of watching over her, Nancy and Jeff just let her go. With me. I often wondered why it was they trusted me with her. Why they didn’t ask to come along, or try to follow us. They just let us go.

Liz and I walked for hours, around almost the entire town. School was out because of the snow, and it was so beautiful that everyone was out enjoying it. We got a few strange looks, from the kids at school, but I hardly noticed.

We talked about a lot that day. About lie, what it meant to us, and what we wanted out of it. We talked about our likes and dislikes, and what made us happy and what made us mad. We eventually ended up back at the Parker house, when it was time for lunch.

It was an awkward moment for me. I didn’t want to leave, and I was nervous, but I didn’t want to tell Liz that. I wanted to go on another walk, and laugh and talk some more with this girl that had claimed all of my thoughts in just a day. But I couldn’t tell Liz that.

So I just stood there. With my hands in my pockets, looking around. I was so nervous, I didn’t even notice she had stepped away from me until she called my name from behind.

“Yeah?” I asked, turning around surprised.

Then it hit me. A cold, wet, handful of snow. Right upside my head. I brushed the snow off my face, and couldn’t help but smile at her. She was standing in the middle of a blanket of white snow, her purple jacket and pink toboggan providing a stark contrast to the world around her. Her hands were up at her mouth, trying unsuccessfully to hold in her giggles, and her eyes were crinkled up with laughter.

“I can’t believe you just did that!” I said, bending down to pick up a handful of snow. I threw it at her, but she ducked it and it missed her completely. I tried again, yet she still managed to duck clear.

“That’s it,” I said, stepping towards her.

I saw her expression change, and she tried to move out of my way, but she was moving so slowly and hesitantly that I caught her in a few steps. I had a handful of snow, and was about to throw it in her face when she pushed at my arms and lost her balance, falling on me, and sending us both toppling to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs.

We found ourselves giggling, unable to stop. I let my head fall back onto the snow, and I could feel Liz’s arms relax against my chest, where she had fallen on top of me. When I finally caught my breath, I could see Liz’s head thrown back in laughter, and feel her body shaking on top of mine. Suddenly, despite the fact that it was 20 degrees outside, I felt the heat rising.

It was at that moment, that I realized what was wrong with me. I was in love. I’d known Liz Parker all my life, and in just the past two days, amidst a flurry of snowflakes and sparkling smiles, I’d fallen in love with her.

Suddenly, everything was different. I felt different, my heart was beating differently, and I saw Liz differently. All because of a four letter word.

I stopped laughing, and couldn’t stop my hand from moving up to her face. I couldn’t resist the urge to gently wipe the stray strands of hair from her cheeks. I had pulled off my glove, and when my fingers came into contact with her skin, I felt her jump. The smile had faded from her face, and in it’s place was a look I had never seen before. If I hadn’t known any better, I would have sworn she was looking right through me. I wanted to kiss her so badly, but knew I couldn’t. This was sweet, pure, innocent Liz. The girl who had stolen my heart. She wasn’t just any girl, and she was so unlike the girls I had taken out before. She was so much more. And I had to treat her that way. I was scared to death that if I kissed her, she’d jump up and run from me.

“Liz, I…”

“I think I should go home, now, Max,” she said.

We got up from the snow, and brushed ourselves off, and I walked her home. We stopped on our front porch, and I gave her an awkward hug and promised to come back the next day.

For a week, school was out because of the snow, and I took advantage of the time and saw Liz everyday.

Sometimes, we’d go on long walks by ourselves. Sometimes, the others would come with us, and we’d all end up in one of our backyards, building snowmen and started snowball wars. Sometimes, Liz and I would end up in her backyard, making snow angels, underneath her bedroom window. And then we’d go to her front porch, and I’d sit sideways on the swing, and she’d sit between my legs and let me keep her warm by wrapping myself around her. We never kissed, but we were always touching. Whether it was just my arm draped across her shoulder, or my hand grasping hers. We’d have these deep, hour long conversations, in which I think I learned more than I had in all my years of schooling.

The others just seemed to accept it. Liz and I. They didn’t ask questions, they didn’t give us funny looks, they didn’t act weird around us. They just let her back in, just like they’d let me back in.

One night, as I left the dinner table to stand on the back porch for some air, Isabel came outside to stand beside me.

“Hey,” she said.

“Hey.”

“You’ve been spending an awful lot of time with Liz,” she said.

“Yeah, I have. I’ve seen her every day.”

“That’s a lot of time, Max. I hope you know what you’re doing,” she said.

“I’m not going to explain myself, Isabel.”

“I’m not asking you to, Max. Just be careful. Liz isn’t like the other girls you’ve known. You can’t hurt her.”

“I know that.”

“You can’t hurt her, Max. I won’t let you. She’s so…innocent. She deserves the best.”

“I know she does. I don’t know what’s happening to me, Isabel.”

“You’re changing, Max. And I like you a lot better now than I did before Liz. She’s changed you, for the better.”

I realized she was right. For a week, I hadn’t fought or argued with any of them. I hadn’t used my popularity to get me somewhere. I hadn’t even talked to any of the kids from school that had helped me become the ego driven person I had been just a week earlier. And it felt great.

“Thanks,” I told her.

“Thank Liz,” she said.

After that, I went across the street, and Liz and I sat on her porch, talking.

“What’s gonna happen tomorrow, Max?” she asked, threading her fingers through my own.

“What do you mean?”

“School starts back. I know people talk about me. I know what you are at school. Who you are. They don’t like me. Will you go back tomorrow and forget about me?”

I shook my head and squeezed her hand. “No.”

“The girls have told me how you were. I don’t want to get hurt, Max. I can’t deal with a broken heart,” she whispered.

I pulled both of her hands into mine, and kissed her forehead. “I’ve changed, Liz. You changed me. I’ll be back tomorrow. I’m not going to forget you.”

She still didn’t answer me, and I knew she was contemplating what I’d said. “Hey,” I said, cupping her cheek. “I promise.”

She smiled at me then, scooted closer, and leaned her head on my shoulder.

“Thank you, Max.”

“No, Liz,” I told her . “Thank you.”

The next day, when school started, I couldn’t get my nerves to settle down. I knew people at school were going to talk, but I knew I would be able to ignore them. To stand up to them. And to defend myself. I was certain I could give up my popularity for Liz without a second thought.

I was wrong.

I walked into school and I felt everyone watching me. It wasn’t like before. This time, they were whispering behind my back, and I could only imagine what they were saying about me. And about Liz. I felt their eyes boring into my back, and I saw their belittling stares. They all knew about me and Liz. And it was obvious they didn’t approve.

“So, Max,” Sean Jacobs said. “I hear you’ve been spending a lot of time with that Parker girl. What’s the deal?” he asked.

That was it. My chance to change my life. Stand up to my friends. Tell them I was in love. And that I was a different person now.

“Yeah, Max,” Pam asked. “I saw you take her from the park. Have you forgotten that you are the most popular guy in school? Imagine what knowing her could do to your reputation. She’s a freak, Max.”

“So, what’s up. Why haven’t we talked to you all week. Why have you been spending so much time with her?” Sean asked.

I looked around and I could have sworn every kid in school was standing in that hall, waiting for my reaction. My reputation depended on my answer. I wanted so badly to tell them all where they could go. That I loved Liz, and didn’t care what they thought. But with two hundred anxious students staring at me for an answer, I couldn’t find the courage to step up and be a man.

“Man, my mom made me do it,” I said.

My friends all heaved a sigh of relief, and started making blind jokes. They patted me on the back, and life around me went back to normal.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Isabel shake her head at me, and walk away, her eyes filled with tears.

With those 7 little words, I had betrayed the promise I’d made to the only girl I’d ever loved. And I’d let her down. I’d let them all down. Isabel, Maria, Alex, Michael, Kyle, Tess. They’d all forgiven the way I’d been in the past and let me back in, and I’d let them down.

For the next week, I didn’t live like a normal person. I didn’t live at all, I just went through the motions. My ‘friends’ didn’t seem to notice the change. I put on a front, acting like the arrogant, selfish person I had been. The only people that noticed were the people who really cared.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Liz. How I’d hurt her. How I’d promised to show up, promised not to forget, and had done just the opposite. But every time I thought about going to see her, I’d see Sean’s face, the stares of the kids at school, and fear of what people would think always got the best of me.

Isabel wasn’t speaking to me. She and I argued everyday about what I’d done. She was furious with me for not having seen Liz since school started. And she was angry that I had broken the promise Liz had told her I’d made. Maria wasn’t speaking to me either, and she didn’t even look in my direction when she passed me on the street on her way to Liz’s house. Tess saw me at the coffeehouse when I went in to get a cappuccino, and when I spoke to her, she brushed past me and walked right out the door. The guys weren’t speaking either, and hadn’t returned my calls. But I didn’t blame them. I hated myself because I wasn’t strong enough to stand up for myself. All because I wanted to be popular.

I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I was miserable. I couldn’t stand what I was doing. But I kept on doing it. Until Michael came walking up to me as I sat underneath the tree in my back yard, staring at our disappearing snow angels.

“Max, what are you doin?” he asked angrily.

“Watching the snow melt.”

“Do you have any idea what you’ve done to her? I’ve seen her almost everyday with Maria. It’s killing her. You broke her heart. How could you?”

“I don’t know what to say?”

“Liz could be the best thing that ever happens to you. How could you just throw that away?”

I just shrugged my shoulders.

“I found the person I know I’ll spend the rest of my life with in Maria. She’s the one. What if Liz is the one for you. If you let her get away, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”

“Why are you here, Michael?”

“Because Liz is my friend. I thought you’d changed, Max. What happened to you?”

“I’m not the person you think I am.”

“Well, then, at least be the person Liz thinks you are.”

“I can’t Michael. I just…I can’t.”

“You know, Max, Liz is the one that can’t see. But you’re more blind than she’ll ever be.” He gave me a disgusted look, and walked away.

That was saying a lot, coming from Michael. He’s not the smartest person you’ll ever meet. But every once in a while, he says something that makes you think there’s a deep, philosophical side to him. One that thinks, and cares, and doesn’t come out very often. And when he shows that side, it usually says something you want to hear.

That’s all it took. It was like someone had pulled the wool from over my eyes.

I was in love with Liz. And the fact that I had been miserable the past week only showed that these feelings I had weren’t going to go away.

With those two sentences, Michael opened my eyes to what had been right in front of me all along. As long as I was trying to fool myself about pleasing the kids at school to save my reputation making me happy, I would be just the opposite. Horribly unhappy. I was so intent on being cool and keeping my popularity status intact that I let down the people in my life who meant the most to me.

How could I have been so cruel? I let my worries about what other people would think keep me away from the one thing in life that had made me completely happy.

Liz.

And I knew I had to try and fix it.

I ran in the house, showered, changed clothes, and was on Liz’s front porch in twenty minutes. I didn’t know what to say to her, or how she would react, or if she would even talk to me.

But I knew I had to try. Or I would never forgive myself.

I reached out and rang the doorbell, and seconds later, found myself staring into the very surprised face of Nancy Parker.

“Max,” she said flatly.

“Mrs. Parker, can I talk to Liz?”

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea, Max.”

“Please?” I pleaded.

“Just let her alone, Max. Haven’t you done enough?”

She was just trying to protect her daughter. But all I wanted to do was make things right. I had to see her.

“Mrs. Parker, I just want to talk to her. Can you tell her I’m here? If she wants me to leave, I will. Please, just tell her I’m here.”

She shook her head, and I felt my heart drop. “I don’t think so, Max. I think you should leave.”

“Wait.”

I leaned around Mrs. Parker as she turned to stare at the top of the stairs.

“I’ll talk to him,” Liz said from the top step.

Mrs. Parker took a deep breath and turned from Liz, to me, and back again. She stepped aside, and motioned me in. “I’ll be in the kitchen,” she said, casting me a weary glance as she headed towards the back of the house.

I saw Liz take a step down and I started up to help her, but she put her hand up to stop me.

“I can do it myself, Max,” she said.

I stopped at the bottom of the steps, and took my coat off, laying it on the bench by the door. I watched as Liz made her way down. She stopped on the bottom step and sat down, so I sat down next to her.

“So, what did you want to say?” she asked, biting her lip in nervousness. I know now that she does this when she doesn’t want to cry.

I felt the tears well up in my eyes, and my voice cracked as I spoke.

“I’m sorry. I made you a promise, and I broke it.”

Liz put her head down, and fiddled with her hands, so I went on.

“When I first started school, being popular was all that mattered. I put about all else, even my real friends. I became a different person, obsessed with being popular and with what people thought of me. The other day, when it snowed, was the first time in a long time I’ve spent time and had fun with them. And then you came along.”

I paused as I felt the emotion well up in my chest, then went on. “I didn’t expect you, Liz. I didn’t even want to come over here that day. But when I saw you, I couldn’t leave. And then, as we talked, and laughed, and spent time together, I couldn’t get my mind off of you. How you smiled, how your hair smelled, how you were so full of life. That night, I couldn’t sleep. The more time I spent with you, the harder I fell. And then school started again. I thought I could stand up to them. Defend you, but I couldn’t. I was too afraid. Until now. Michael came to see me, and he made me realize that what I have here is something I’m not ready to give up. I don’t care what people say. I don’t care what they think. Right now, all I care about is what you think.”

“You promised me, Max. You promised you’d come back, and you didn’t. I told you I couldn’t deal with a broken heart,” she whispered, her voice shaky with her tears.

I could see the hurt in her face, and the fact that I had caused her that pain, almost brought me to my knees.

“I know, Liz. And all I can say is I’m sorry. But I want to spend the rest of my life making it up to you. I know it’s soon and sudden, but, Liz, I’m in love with you. And I know now that that’s enough for me. I’ve been the one that’s blind. But I don’t care what other people say. I want to be with you, Liz. Please, say you’ll forgive me.”

It seemed like an eternity before she spoke, and I could hardly sit still, staring at her playing with her fingers.

When she didn’t speak, I knew she hadn’t accepted my apology. I’d broken a promise, and her heart, and she wasn’t going to forgive me. I picked up my jacket, and stood up to leave. But she stopped me.

“Can I touch your face?” I heard her ask softly.

“What?” I said, spinning around to face her.

“Can I touch your face? I want to see if you’re telling the truth, and I can only do that if I touch your face.”

It was what she had done with her snow angel. She had put her hands out, and looked at it with her fingers. She wanted to see it. Now she was asking to do the same to me. Because she wanted to see me.

I dropped to the floor in front of her and knelt there. Shaking, I reached down and took her hands in mine. I pulled them up to lips and kissed them, then pressed them against my cheeks. She straightened her fingers, and brushed her hands slightly against my skin. My cheeks, my forehead, across my eyelids, over my nose, across my mouth.

The whole time, I watched her face, her eyes, even thought they couldn’t see me, speaking a thousand words in their silent depths. She was forgiving me.

“Say it again,” she whispered.

I don’t now how I knew what to say, but I did.

“I love you, Liz,” I said.

I saw her eyes well up with tears, and felt her hand start to shake. I reached up with one hand and took one of hers in my own, and placed it over my chest so she could feel my heart beating. “What you feel, Liz, it’s all yours. My heart, my soul, my love,” I said.

“You are telling the truth,” she said.

I nodded, and reached up to touch her cheeks. She took a deep breath, and I knew this was it.

I leaned in, and pressed my lips to hers in the softest, most tender, yet passionate kiss I’d ever experienced. To this day, out of all the kisses we’ve ever shared, that’s the one I’ll remember the most. It was so gentle, and urgent, and full of hope and promise.

I stayed at Liz’s for hours that night, and as we sat, cuddled together on her living room couch, telling each other about our plans for the future. The fact that I wanted her in my life brought a smile to her lips I don’t think I ever to tired of seeing.

The next day, I went back to school, and waited for the moment. It came when Sean came up to me, Pam in tow. The first thing she said was something about Liz.

“So, Max, the freak come around lately?” she asked.

“Well, whoever do you mean, Pam?” I asked, innocently.

She scoffed, and flipped her bleach blond hair over her shoulder. “Why, the Parker girl, of course,” she said with a smirk.

“First of all, she’s not a freak. Second of all, her name is Liz, And for your information, yes I have seen her. I spent most of last night, in front of a warm fire, with her in my arms.”

You could have heard a pin drop. I didn’t say it that loud, but for some odd reason, I’m sure everyone in the hallway heard.

“Dude, you scared me there for a minute,” Sean said, breaking the silence, and erupting into laughter. “You looked so serious.”

“I was.”

Sean turned to me, a shocked look on his face. “So, what, you’re mom make you do it?” He asked.

“Nope. I made me do it.”

“What are you saying, Max?” Pam questioned, pushing Sean out of the way.

“I’m saying that I was with Liz last night. I’ll be with her tomorrow night, and the night after that, and even the night after that. If I can help it, I’ll be with her every night for the rest of my life.”

Sean scoffed at me and rolled his eyes. “Please, Max, you can end the joke now. We’ve all had our laugh. You got us,” he said.

“The only jokes I see around here are you guys. I can’t believe I ever called you my friends,” I told him.

“Max, I don’t understand,” Pam said, in her whiny voice.

“I love her, Pam. I wouldn’t expect you to understand.”

“Max, are you picking her over us?” Sean asked.

“Sean I’m picking her over anyone. From now on, Liz comes first for me. I don’t car what you think, or how uncool it is, or how people look at me. I have friends that really matter.”

“Max,” Sean said, as he backed away from me surrounded by hushed whispers and disgusted glances in my direction. “You just bought yourself a place at the bottom of the pile, man.”

“Yeah, well, it’s better than being at the top with you guys.”

Needless to say, from that moment on, my status as King of the Hill was pretty much non existent. But id didn’t bother me one bit. The people I’d spent my entire high school career trying to impress were deserting me, but I couldn’t have been happier.

That afternoon, I made peace with the people who really cared. They had either seen or heard what had happened, and it made getting them to forgive me a lot easier. I had to do some begging and pleading, and listen to a lecture from Maria, in true Deluca fashion, but she forgave me just as Liz did.

Life went on, and months passed, as Liz became a regular part of all our lives. When we graduated in June, she was there to hear them call my name, and I couldn’t have been prouder to have her there supporting me.

The following spring, Liz and I were married. I had just turned nineteen, and Liz was still eighteen, but it was obvious to everyone that Liz and I were meant to be. She was my soul mate, and I was hers, and everyone around us knew it. Michael was me best man, and Isabel Liz’s maid of honor. I’ll never forget the feeling I had rising in my chest as I watched Liz’s father handing her over to me for safe keeping.

Liz’s parents moved to an apartment, and gave us their home so Liz wouldn’t have to memorize the layout of another house. For four years, Liz and I lived a life that most people never get to experience. I fell in love with her over and over again, as she showed me how amazing she was, and all things she could do, despite the fact that she was blind. Whenever it snowed, we’d go outside, and make snow angels just beneath our bedroom window, and I’d watch them and describe them to her as they slowly disappeared with the snow. We were happier than any two people have ever been, and the world was ours for the taking.

Until Liz got sick.

I took her to the doctor, for a routine cold, and my world fell apart.

Liz’s cancer had come back. And having gone undetected for years, it had spread all over her body and was too far advanced to be stopped. I felt every dream I’d ever had come crashing down at my feet when the doctor told us Liz was going to die.

Liz was okay with death. She’d long ago accepted the fact that some day, her cancer might return. She was at peace with dying, and she felt blessed to have lived such a blessed and happy life. She’d tried to ease my pain by telling me how at peace she was. But as hard as she tried to help me deal by accepting what she already had, I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that one day, she wasn’t going to be there.

It wasn’t supposed to happen that way, with Liz going first. We were supposed to have kids, and grandkids, and grow old watching them live their lives. I was supposed to go first. Liz was the woman. She was supposed to outlive me. That’s how it happens in the movies. But I learned all too quickly that life doesn’t always happen like it does on the silver screen.

Liz didn’t want to spend her last days in a hospital, hooked to machines and full of drugs.

So I took her home.

For one month, I did everything I could to make Liz happy and comfortable. I took a leave of absence from work, and stayed home with her. We’d stay in all day, talking, laughing, reminiscing about the happiness life had given us. We listened to our favorite music, and ‘watched’ our favorite movies. We cooked our favorite meals, and had breakfast in bed every day. Our friends came often to see Liz, and spend their last moments with her, but they always gave us time alone.

After a while, Liz started to wish it would snow, and due to the fact that it was March, I tried to convince her that it wouldn’t happen. But she’d lie in bed at night, in my arms and pray for snow, as much as I tried to get her not to get her hopes up.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up one March morning to find the world covered in a blanket of white. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought Liz wished the snow into falling.

I woke her up, dressed her, and carried her outside, to the spot beneath our window where’d we’d made snow angels so many times before.

“Can you lay me in the snow, Max?”

“Liz, it’s freezing out here. I don’t think that’s a good idea.

“Please, Max. I want to make my snow angel. One last time, I want to see her.”

I started crying then, but how could I refuse her? I laid her down in the snow, and watched as the smile spread across her face and her arms and legs moved up and down and side to side to make her angel. I watched as her face lit up with happiness at the gently falling flakes hitting her skin, and as her cheeks took on a deep rosy color from the cold

I waited, until she had made her angel, and this time, I got down in the snow with her and closed my eyes as we used our hands to see her perfect angel, just like Liz had done the day I fell in love with her.

After Liz was done playing in the snow, I took her inside, and we sat on the couch, her in my lap. She leaned her head against my shoulder and whispered to me how much she loved me and how happy I had made her.

I think I felt the exact moment she took her last breath. Her small hand squeezed my fingers, and she took a deep breath. Then she was gone. Just like that. I smoothed the hair back from her face, and knew she as at peace. Her cheeks were still rosy, and her hair still smelled sweet. Her lips were a healthy pink, and I could have sworn her skin was glowing as the shadows form the fire place danced across her face. I kissed her forehead but couldn’t bear to let her go just yet.

So I sat there. Holding my precious angel in my arms, whispering through my tears how she had changed my life. I told her all the things I’d remember about her. Her laugh. The way her hair smelled. They way she whispered words of love late at night, when she thought I was asleep. The way I felt when I felt the flutter of her eyelashes against my chest as she slept in my arms.

When I heard the knock on the door, I didn’t answer. I knew it was Isabel and Alex, they had called earlier to say they were coming over. Isabel used her key, and let herself in. When she saw us on the couch, she knew, so she called everyone. Since Alex’s dad was a doctor, and Kyle’s the sheriff, we were able to let Liz go in peace. She was still warm when they took her tiny body from my arms and put her in the car that took her to the funeral home.

I stayed at my parent’s house until two days later, when we had her funeral.

I stood there, with Isabel on my right, and Michael on my left as I buried my heart beneath the frozen ground. I watched, half heartedly, as the minister presided over the somber event.

The oddest things were running through my mind. As I saw the breath I released evaporate into the sharp air, I remembered that Liz would never take another breath. And as I listened to Maria give the eulogy, I realized Liz would never laugh at one of her crazy, ‘Michael induced’ rants ever again. And as I watched Isabel pull the brim of her dark hat over her eyes, I realized that all of Liz’s clothes, and shoes, and hats, and jewelry in our closet at home would never be worn again. That’s when I lost it. I broke down into tears, and felt my knees give out. If it hadn’t been for Michael beside me, and Kyle behind me, I would have buckled to the ground. So, for the rest of the day, I depended on my best friends to hold me up.

It began to snow, just as we were placing her into the ground. I felt the grief and sadness that only losing your other half can cause lessen just a bit as an image of Liz sprang to my mind. She was running around, in an endless field of snow, making her angels. She smiled, waved at me, and blew a kiss, then vanished from my mind. I knew then that somewhere, Liz was right where she belonged.

With the real angels.

That night, when I went home to an empty house for the first time, I stood staring out of the window at the faint outline of the snow angel Liz had made just days before. I watched it for a week, until slowly, just like the snow, it disappeared.

It’s been ten years since then, and I still love Liz as much as I ever did. I know I’ll never remarry, because my heart will always belong to her.

Liz and I watched a movie once, and for the life of me, I can’t remember what the name of it was. All I remember was that at the end, the girl said this. “Beginnings are scary, and endings are sad. But it’s what’s in the middle that counts.” I know how true that is. Because Liz and I did have a scary beginning, and a sad ending. But it’s what happened in between that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Our first Christmas, when Liz couldn’t stop laughing after I told her she’d accidentally put on one red and one black shoe with her new dress.

The night of our second anniversary when I threw her the first surprise party she’d ever been too, at her favorite Mexican restaurant, complete with a Mariachi band.

The day Liz’s father passed away, and she spent the entire night crying in my arms.

I’ll remember every single detail of my life with Liz. Not just the good, not just the smiles. I’ll remember the good days, the bad days, the laughter, the tears, the arguments, the surprises, everything. Because those things are what made me the man I am today. And that’s more than I ever thought I could be.

All because I fell in love with the girl from across the street.

Liz changed my life, and I don’t know what would have happened to me had I never fallen in love with her. Most likely, I’d still be friends with the people who almost cost me the only girl I’d ever fall in love with.

I told Liz about that day in school, when I couldn’t defend her. And that day in school when I told them all I loved her. She forgave me, and told me that I’d changed. And that love makes you do that. Want to change for someone else’s sake. For me, Liz was that someone. I’d have done anything for her, and to this day, even though she’s gone, I still would.

We still gather on the holidays, at the house I grew up in. Isabel and Alex come, with their two kids, Tess and Kyle with their son, and Maria and Michael with their little girl. All of our parents come, and Mrs. Parker joins us too. Sometimes, I swear I can feel Liz there with us. I know she’s somewhere up there, watching over us, with the angels.

And in the winter, when it snows, I can look out of our bedroom window, and I can see Liz lying there, in the snow, making her angels. And, sometimes, I really do think there’s an angel there. It’s at times like that when I can close my eyes, and smile, and remember Liz Parker for what she really was.

My very own Snow Angel.