Fall leaves flutter past me in a blur of reds, yellows, and oranges. The chilly breeze escaping from Lake Ontario rises up over the rocks bordering the park from the lake and lifts my blond hair around me.
Am I dreaming?
The sky above me is thinning out as red streaks of the setting sun begin to rise from somewhere far across the lake. There are cars parked in the parking lot, but there is no one around. Though I can hear children playing and parents scolding, no one is visible.
"This is beautiful," a familiar voice says from behind me and I freeze. "You didn't have to go through so much trouble."
"Stop," another familiar voice responds before breaking out into a fit of laughter. "Come on, I want you to see something!"
Footsteps resound in this magic place from my past and I spin around quickly. In front of me are two people, a teenage girl and boy running together while holding hands. Her long, blonde hair is in a French braid and his chestnut brown hair is tousled from the wind. His lean back moves gracefully and she laughs as she strains to keep up. "Leo wait!" she yells. "I'm not a runner like you!"
I follow them swiftly as they reach a slope that leads down to the area where workers had long ago added sand and other rocky layers so as to make it more appealing. "Come on," he says, gently tugging her hand forward. His eyes are the most beautiful shade of blue with highlights of grey that I have ever seen, their meaning sending shocks through my system. "You'll love it."
She looks at him coyly before walking down the slope towards the rocky sand. He is waiting for her by the shore, his back to her and I. The maze of muscles on his back, legs and arms are things about him that I memorized years ago when I first met him. "Leo, has anyone ever told you that you're a hopeless romantic?"
He looks back at the girl and smiles shyly. "You're the first that I've ever taken down here with me," he holds out his hand and she grabs it easily. "I know it's a public place, but I thought it would be different if I brought someone I care about here with me."
"Leo," her emotion shows through her words as he hugs her tightly. "It's beautiful."
I watch the sun go down below the horizon, red and orange rays highlighting the oddly calm waters. Tears brim my eyes as I remember this day, almost three years ago. It was our first date and Leo had acted so sincerely. "No," I whisper, fighting back the tears. "Stop, please," my words are lost in the wind as I watch helplessly. My younger self smiles up at the handsome Leo, whose eyes glint in the dying of the sunlight. As the events occur, my heart aches with the pain that I wanted to escape from only days ago. If this is a repetition of my love life with Leo, then I know all too clearly what is going to happen next.
"Stop," I plead louder, unable to move my eyes from the scene unfolding in front of me. "Please, I don't understand why this is happening to me!"
"Victoria," Leo murmurs as he leans down. His hand grazing the cheek of the memory version of me. His ghostly touch warms my cheek, bringing me the much familiar sense of heartbreak.
I close my eyes as our lips meet for the first time so long ago.