i think now about how you asked me if i did it on my own. alone. or if i surrounded myself. warm bodies as protection, distraction.
and i must have half-smiled. taken a deep breath. tilted my head to the ground. looked away, even as we walked together, the same direction compelling us forward.
i knew if i was honest it'd be years before we'd meet again.
but i cannot tell a lie. and even if i could, i figured it was a lie that would bury us in that illusory thing that is borrowed time.
so i gave you the single greatest truth i now hold:
i did it on my own.
and another before-and-after erupted before us. an uncrossable, impassable, impossible line.
and now i watch from a distance, and only upon occasion, as you thrust and flail and do it exactly as i did not, but in the only way you know how--for now. because time moves differently for each of us.
and i must forgive you for this.
for seeking comfort in familiar cutouts that bear no resemblance to my own.
now i wonder if you'll ever come back. and mostly fear you will.
and that when you do i will know too much and have seen too much and my answer will be the saddest and deepest and bluest bruise of a no.