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There is a shadow that follows me around. A shell of a person who once existed. She hangs around just out of sight, but you can always feel her presence.

She was once so full of life. There was magic in her eyes and unstoppable courage. Too wild to be tamed.

She wasn't beautiful in the normal sense of beauty. Her beauty radiated from inside. From the power, she held within. Her beauty didn't have boys lining up to be with her. Instead, her beauty was a secret contained within her soul.

She no longer has that spark. The shadow that follows me around is dark and empty. She peers around corners, and I can feel the brokenness penetrate the shield I have built around myself. The shield doesn't stop her. It antagonizes her.

She can stay hidden, confined to her own walls for months at a time. I can still feel her presence, but she doesn't make herself known. Where she goes, I am not sure. I do know that when she is hiding, I feel relief.

Guilt washes over me when she comes out of her hiding.

Guilt that I will never be able to help her grow into her potential.

Guilt that her dreams were never accomplished.

Guilt that she no longer exists.

Guilt that she will only ever be a shadow.

I have learned to live with her peering into my life. Seeing who I am now and wishing it was her that could be here

I have learned that she is not here to harm me. She is here to remind me of who I once was. Of the girl that I was becoming.

I have learned that despite her presence, I am whole. She is a piece of me that will never be realized but also never forgotten.

A moment in time that will always be right around the corner, peering at me with love and protection, while simultaneously giving me the courage to continue to move forward.

The ghost of Samantha is beauty wrapped in darkness and desire. Beauty that every once in a while is lucky enough to be shared through me.

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