By accident, or fate, depending on what you believe - their paths crossed. Two people, with differences and different agendas. Looking for the same thing, more sure of what they didn't want than what they did want.
Picture the quiet boy on the playground, who sees the popular girl and is not sure what to feel - only that what he feels is new, and something unlike anything he's felt before.
When she sees him, all she knows, in that moment, is that he is feeling what she herself is hoping to feel some day. Not ready, or willing, to feel this way towards the boy, she simply entertains him. Or maybe uses him to entertain herself. She laughs at him, and occasionally with him. Not one to believe in "the one", she only sees what she allows herself to see. But as each day goes by she learns there's more to the boy, her eyes slowly opening more and more.
They weren't destined to be be together, nor was it love at first sight. She was older, more experienced, and more playful. He was younger, but cynical, and thoughtful.
Everything that worried her, would set him free. And everything that tied him down, to her was a target.
His temper was short, and her feelings easily hurt. She saw life through a microscope, and he saw life through a telescope.
Her life was structured. His life was happenstance. She saw the best in others. He cared only about her. She opened up, and he read her page for page. A book that had always had his full attention, but that often changed from comedy, to drama, to romance, and back again. He always liked suspenseful reads.
As days turned to weeks, turned to months, and years went by, they remained together. Not with ease, but with effort. When others would have given in, and friends had in fact done just that, they grew stronger. They learned that together, they could use each others faults and shortcomings as rungs on a ladder to bring them closer to their goals.
His patience, her impatience. Her responsibility, his vision.
But something was missing. Something she needed, and something he was looking for. It wasn't always easy to put their finger on it, that little extra ingredient that takes a relationship from good, to great. Several times they had simply walked away, doubting that it was worth it. And each time, he had come back. Short stints with others, just not measuring up to what they hoped to ultimately have, some day, with each other.
One day, as the future of this boy, now man, hangs in the balances, he thinks about his life, all they've been through, and what lay on the horizon. And he realizes what he must do, to ultimately make her happy.
It was the last thing he would ever dream of doing. The one thing they say people aren't capable of doing.
He must leave.
Not her. But himself. The man he thought he was, for who she needed him to be. He must change. He must grow. Like a muscle, he must stretch to the point of tearing, in order to be rebuilt, stronger than before. And then do it again. And do it until he only recognizes the shell of himself. Because, in order for him to have something he's never had before, he understands he must become someone he has never been before.
He understands that his love story, is her story. And what makes him a man, is knowing when he finds the woman worth reading, and doing everything he can, to finish the story together.