The coarse bark presses against my spine. I admire the contrast between the ghostly glow of my palm and the gleaming azalea that rests within it, bathed in rich magenta. My eyes drink in the intensity of the flower; I allow it to rest atop the snowy folds of fabric spilling from my waist.

Take care of yourself, he had said. But that seems so long ago now. Did we truly dance beneath the dark cloak of sky? Did our lips ever meet through the sweet downpour's forgotten tears? No, now it seems only an illusion – a young girl's lost dream.

An arctic air whispers by, sending the tender willow branches fluttering my way. I catch the sight of color from the corner of my eye, drifting away, and spiraling gently downward, rippling the small pond as it settles.

The scene is so familiar, and yet I cannot grasp why. I trace my name unwittingly beneath the branch I've settled on, stopping as I reach the loop of the 'h.'

"Ophelia," I breathe; a small cloud of white dances briefly before me. Small flashes of memory flicker through my brain. I remember her end.

The kind water that strokes the small shore seems strangely inviting.

Come on, the icy chill of air entices, let go – you've got nothing more to lose. The end is peaceful – no more worries. Don't you want to be free?

My mind is full of thick haze. Complacent. Agreeing. All I have to do is let go… No more pain. Just like… The fog clears.

But Hamlet came back. He still loved her. Could that not be the case here as well? I could change the ending… I could change everything.

But you won't, it warns, it ends that way for a reason.

What reason? I long to ask, but the sharp voice continues, You can't change the past, and you don't know the future. Ophelia wasn't crazy – she saw what no one else did. It didn't matter that he came back. It doesn't matter if yours will. Don't you see?

But the voice no longer sounds sweet now; the water's hostile and cold.

"No," I voice aloud, "that may have been her destiny, but it's certainly not mine. I control my fate," I decide, readying myself to descend from the tree and away from this malign murmur of wind.

It cackles cruelly, You really shouldn't have said that…

My heart tenses and before I can even think to move, I hear a sickening snap as the branch collapses and I am immersed in the freezing liquid, sinking in the weight of my ample dress. My fight yields no help. The flood has engulfed me and I am still. The surface ripples above and, with my last strength, I extend my hand towards the short stem of my only hope.

Take care of yourself.