後悔後悔後悔

The memory of the wounded look on his face waits for me quietly. I am always perpetually on the cusp of forgetting it exists. But laying in bed at midnight, my heart twisted into ribbons of flesh, I reach in and purposefully prod it awake. Though I know the memory will hurt me, it also, paradoxically, has the power to console me, as piercing as the lance but as soothing as an imagined embrace. Both the poison and the antidote, and I relive it again: the split-second where he turned away from me, heavy-lidded, tight-lipped, holding a glass between both hands too tenderly, as though afraid it might shatter at any moment.

I remember we sat there in silence. Around us, the party continued. His eyes were dry, but something about the low light made them seem dark with tears. His body was still, but his mood was obvious; the truth of unsaid feelings, very carefully restrained, began rapidly and painfully filling my mind like a wave rushing into the caves of a pockmarked and slate-colored cliff side. His gaze was trained on a place so far away from here. In the memory, his silhouette is smeared, blurred, but impossibly vibrant, like a distant star I cannot reach but that remains fixed in the firmament.

I would like to apologize to him in the same way that I would like to travel to the moon. I know it cannot happen because I am limited by my choices and my cowardice, but I lay in bed at midnight and I imagine how it could happen. When I fall asleep, I dream of his face, broken into shards, and I wake with the earnest and frustrated desire to know my deficiencies less well, so that then I could pretend they did not exist.