She walked through the familiar doors, crowds of people in front of her.
Waiting for her to be in sight, my heart was pounding.
Her bright purple hair came to view, and the smile on my face could not be wiped away.
Her warm ivory hands searched for our familiar arms.
Soft, warm, comforting.
The smell of her cherry blossom perfume and morning coffee hit.
This was pure joy.
As we cried her name, we told her the stories of what it took to get to her. She smiled, and laughed ever so slightly.
She was back home.
For the next short span of time we spent our summer laughing way too hard,
Dancing in puddles,
Sharing inside jokes,
And making new ones.
Everything was back to normal.
Everything was at peace.
A cold wind seemed to bring her back to reality as she packed her suitcase.
A mental struggle between missing her family and not wanting to abandon her friends again left her with a bittersweet melancholy taste in the back of her throat.
That night none of us slept.
Instead, we took black and white pictures with our arms wrapped around each other. We ate sweets and we laughed,
hoping that maybe if we stopped thinking about the inevitable,
it would go away.
Her hands grasp ours as we walked her back to an unfamiliar life.
There was a smile,
and a let-go.
She left her butterflies with us, leaving her with an empty hole on the flight back, and me with a sharp pain in my chest for the drive home.