“Do you remember when we loved each other?” She asked quietly, pulling at a thread in her sweater.
He looks up silently, slowly.
“Me neither,” she continued. “All I have are fractions of memories left, half here and a quarter there, but never whole. And in them there is laughter, and screams, and tired acceptance. But never love.”
He turns his head back to the view out the window, crisp white clouds and unyielding blue as far as the eye can see.
“It’s lost to me, the love. Maybe it was never there, just an idea that we both thought once would be nice and we grasped at a fiction we couldn’t really ever write. A novel that is only half way done, but the plot is all contrived and old and no one wants it to be finished, no one thought it should be written in the first place.”
He spies a blue bird chirping on the bird feeder, it moves quickly, its life short but always it is searching for something more.
“We think we know everything, we think we understand the emotions that float passed us; that we can hold water and it won’t pour through our fingers. We think we can grab something that doesn’t exist and show other people, ‘proof’ we cry as we open our palms to air like it had meaning. As we wave lust and desire and call it something eternal, when all we hold is dust and decay.”
He can smell the open air through the cracked window, he wonders when the chill came, or if it had always been there on his legs.
“I turn it over in my mind, thinking deeply on what brought us here, what chose our path. What was it you said that first charged me with electricity, what was it that turned my shining young eyes on you? When was innocence so easily lost and virtue so easily traded? Why didn’t I think it would be worthwhile to hold on to it, comfort what I could never get back? What was I running too, why couldn’t I stop? Why do we move so quickly, our hearts beat so fast, our pulse itch our arms into action? Why can’t we stop?”
He pulls the blanket further down, the chill seeping in to his bones. The blue bird sings, it mocks him as he clenches his frail hands.
“I want to rewind, not replay, but rewind. Undo things I thought were the most beautiful threads, but turned out to be wholesome, neutral, lifeless colours that everyone wraps themselves in. I wanted vibrant, different, adventure, miracles. I wanted more than normal.”
He thinks about turning back, but the view has him ensnared. He thinks about the world turning and tilting, the flowers fading, the winter coming.
“I feel so naked and alone here. I feel like I’ve given everything away and gotten nothing back. I feel so dead and need so desperately to be alive. I need to move, to dance, to fly. I am trapped, I am a broken bird who cannot even sing, because my memories of freedom are so convoluted…so fractured.”
He takes the photo frame from the table next to him and traces smiles on faces; he thinks that those were different people, younger, with a future.
“I am so cold, love should be warmth. I know it should be stardust in eyes, and puzzle pieces that click together. It shouldn’t be silent waiting and hopeless motion. Why can’t I know it anymore? Did I ever know it?”
He places the photo back on the table, he thinks about the upturned face beside a young man and he wonders what it would have been…if only she had stayed with him. He looks around his empty room; he sees the fading white walls of the building he now lives in, the cold clutching his aged wrists. He wants to think that they would have been happy, that life would have been more than the loneliness he slips in to every morning and every night. He thinks that maybe, just maybe he would have felt love.
– Tegan Thuss