It's a tale likely familiar to many—a story of young love, dreams, and disillusionment that transcends decades and continents. Years ago, when I was just a youthful 16-year-old, bright-eyed and brimming with ambition, I envisioned a future as a writer. I was making headway; my poems and articles were being published in our local newspaper, a feat that brought immense pride to a high school junior.

My social circle was vibrant, filled with supportive friends and an admirer who would later achieve significant success in life. But then, he entered my life—Yuri, a curly-haired, 19-year-old art student with a captivating smile and a heart seemingly as vast as his ambitions.

Naturally, I fell for him. However, Yuri was not without his flaws. He disparaged my friends and my dream of writing books, persuading me that a more practical profession was the way forward. Blinded by what I thought was love, I abandoned my aspirations to please him, a decision fueled by the dazzling prospect of being by his side.

But as the whims of young love often go, my allure faded for him, and within a year he left, supposedly for an internship, and then vanished entirely. This was a time before mobile phones and social media, so when someone disappeared, they truly disappeared.

Over two decades passed, and life led me through the quiet streets of a European capital. As I strolled past a park, a familiar figure emerged from a parked car—a curly, graying head I recognized instantly. It was Yuri, now visibly older, walking towards a cozy home with his wife and children. The shock was palpable; he was thriving, seemingly happy, and he didn't even recognize me.

Here I was, years later, still bearing the scars of a dream forsaken for a man who merely needed me as a stepping stone to his own shine. Seeing him so settled and content sparked a tumultuous mix of emotions and the lingering question: How should I exact my revenge for the dreams I sacrificed?

This encounter isn't just a tale of heartbreak or lost youth; it's a reflection on the paths we choose and the indelible marks they leave on us. It's about the intersections of love, ambition, and the long shadows they cast throughout our lives. As I walked away from that brief, piercing reunion, the thought of revenge lingered, a stark reminder of the complex tapestry of human relationships and the enduring quest for personal fulfillment, even in the face of past betrayals.