By Elycia Lee
Valentine’s Day was never the same for Brandon, since the year 2012 when he lost his best friend, his lover, his life. They say good things need to go, so that better things can come your way. But what if you’ve lost the best?
A hundred days have made me older
since the last time that I saw your pretty face
Ashley was her name. She was a mute, but Brandon loved her, still loves her, and Ashley loved him too. She may have been unable to confess her feelings out loud, but when she reaches out to interlock their fingers, or when she leans up to kiss him on the cheek, Brandon thinks he can hear her screaming “I LOVE YOU” out loud.
Letting her express her love in her own way makes Valentine’s unique for Brandon. Ashley loved painting, and she translates her words into vibrant colours over blank canvases. Every year during Valentine’s she would paint a portrait of Brandon in various hues.  
A thousand lies have made me colder
And I don’t think I can look at this the same
Each painting would be filled with writings on the back – regarding the things Brandon has done for her in the past year and how much she appreciates him. Brandon still keeps all the paintings, and rereads them for the past four years; it’s his way of lying to himself that she’s somehow still here, her soul residing in the paintings.
But all the miles that separate
Disappear now when I’m dreaming of your face
Now she’s nowhere near him. Out of sight, but not out of mind. As she succumbed to a fatal disease and returned to where she belongs, (“Angels belong in heaven,” said Brandon.) she left a vacancy in Brandon’s heart, and he feels so, so empty. But at night, when he meets her in his dreams and she gives him that same old smile, he feels like he’s seen a glimpse of heaven, and his heart feels whole again.
The miles just keep rollin’
As the people leave their way to say hello
Tragically, Ashley passed away on Valentine’s Day, and that is why Brandon can never see Valentine’s Day the same way as he did before – happy and warm. Now all he feels is sadness as he mourns with a bouquet of red roses in his arms, kneeling at Ashley’s tombstone. Tiny daisies bloom around the block of granite, and Brandon wonders if Ashley is painting with flowers this time.
I’ve heard this life is overrated
But I hope that it gets better as we go
If Ashley was the best thing that ever happened to Brandon, then it would be impossible to have
something better.
No one else could love Brandon the same way Ashley did.
Even if they tried, it wouldn’t change the fact that Valentine’s Day for Brandon is a day of losing a loved one.
But you’re still with me in my dreams
And tonight girl, it’s only you and me
So Brandon goes to sleep and dreams of Ashley, waiting for the day when he can see her again.
Lyrics from Here Without You by Three Doors Down.

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