So. Here I amÖthinking of you. An old maid sipping a coke laced with nostalgia (and Iíll admit, a bit of rum) watching a picture show on the blank computer screen in front of her. You donít remember me anymore Iím sure...your story disembarked from our story many years in the past. Doubtless you are now living another conjoined tale, complete with a wife and a few kids. Maybe one of them named after a character from a classic novel...or was it a movie? Hmm...the specific name escapes me, but I guess thatís an old ladyís drunken mind for you, remembering some details and releasing others without regard.
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Anyways, donít think Iím chastising you or trying to make you feel any guilt. Iíve had my own story as well. A husband. Some children. A career. You know the deal. Iíve been happy. Hell, I canít even say for sure that any of my most enduring, close friends remember your name itís been so long since I last spoke of you...
Of course...we many have been a doomed pair from the start. Between my lack of confidence and your shyness the binding words of love were seldom brought into our conversation. There were many moments of silence between us, I know that much. And I know the words that should have filled those pauses. They would have filled up and spilled over with heart and happiness. We would have embraced and all would be right in our little world. Or perhaps...well...you know...anyways...
Basically...Iíve regretted things. And then...Iíve experienced something altogether more harsh. Itís not a general attitude at all. Nope. More of a specific arrow aimed at a certain moment of failure. Itís not repentance over some action or lack of action. No. This feeling is about wrongness. It is knowing a memory whose place in your mind seems fundamentally inappropriate, so off base was your decision from that basic desire in your heart. Itís living all of your life with the awareness that something great branched off from where you were at that place in time...and...instead of following the greater adventure you descended the tree altogether. Anyways. Jesus Iím getting ahead of myself. How did you ever feign interest in my letter writing?
I wonder if you recall that time on the train. We were alone in a crowd of people. My heart was so excited. I was smiling very, very softly. Thinking about you. About us. Wrapped snuggly in my feelings for you.
You donít recall THAT time because I never bookmarked it in your mind. I didnít say ďI love youĒ. I didnít lean over and kiss you. I didnít even let my smile wander to where you would see it. So, if you remember, you remember a ride home on the train with me. You remember us coming home from a nice Thai restaurant. You remember the longish train ride and our conversation on the way back. You remember a few, pregnant moments of silence. Maybe. I donít really have any idea about what kind of things you remember...I know you remembered the last time we talked before the engagement was announced. But now...I have no clue.
While that span of several minutes might have faded to a dusty fog in your mind, it will remain indelibly burned into mine. Those minutes were like hours to me, so rapid were my thoughts and my desires. They were tumbling through my head like reckless children in one of those carnival wind tunnels. But there was one that conquered all the rest. It was elegant and romantically simple...I wanted to lean over and lay my head on your shoulder. I knew I would be comfortable there, gently expressing my adoration for you. It seemed like the eyes of everyone on the train were watching me as I judged your attitude at that moment. In retrospect...well...the booze is starting to get to me now...but I believe that glance up at your expression was the moment of this silly girlís undoing. There was a monologue in my head. I told myself...well, some part of me was speaking, I donít know which part had the foresight to say this but...that monologue was telling me that if I didnít, I would regret it. As a matter of fact, those words were clearly repeated in my head ďYou. Will. Regret.Ē like a mantra, ordering me to act. I understood that these words were fact, but instead I sat in deep mediation of the situation.
And I did not move.
A second passed.
The moment slipped by while the mantra still chanted on in my head.
From that day, my heart would always beat with a stutter and a start. Obviously...it didnít affect me immediately. In the days and months following our joint venture into possibility I accepted the consequences as the truth of you and I. We had been mistaken in our thoughts for one another. But...as the years began to pass, words and nuances collected to form a more coherent picture. One I did not like.
That was when the feeling of wrongness began. Everyday it grew. It stirred inside me a vicious river. It told me to run. Run to you. Tell you everything. Every moment we spoke it was swelling inside, pushing the seams to their breaking point.
And the mantra. Over and over and over. ďYou. Will. Regret.Ē
I hid. My fragile heart was too full of fear to confront you. We both sought other loves. We both forged new stories. It was convincing...except when we spoke. So day by day, I found other things to do that kept me away. You called me and I didnít answer. You asked if we were friends and I told you that I didnít know. Our once familiar words of love were gently refused, though it hurt me more than you could tell. I closed my eyes, hoping to make the things I feared disappear and when I opened my eyes again...you were gone. All that was left in your place was the thick haze of wrongness to forever remind me of you.
"God grant me distraction."