Residual Haunting

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I thought of you again.

It happens every once in awhile.  You tip-toe into my head when I’m trying to sleep. Beckoning me from the haunted chambers of the past, into those inescapable musings of What If…?

What if we’d…

… done more than just kissed? Spoke the choking words imprisoned in locked gazes? Stopped to touch, rather than letting each other pass?

We were of another lifetime.  When the future was still infinite and unwritten.  Too young for this to matter.  Too young for it not to feel so profound.  Not young enough to escape the spark that ignited that first night we met.  And they knew.

You were too old, warned, determinedly decent.  I was naive, excitable, unsure of myself.

They set to influence our path, driving wedges between us to keep us safe, never minding the ones who’d come after.  That close knit group of friends, the cliche sitcom in syndication, all dating one other like a merry-go-round of would-be swingers and we skated around one another, brushing but never grabbing hold.

And the season finale never came. I was trapped on that merry-go-round, while you stepped further away.  Maybe you were relieved.  Maybe I made it easier for you to resist what had once been temptation, by turning into something you no longer desired or understood.  Maybe you were still too threatened by those whispering conspirators damning us from the start.

Maybe decency is a coward, begetting the weapons of silence.

For we never learned to communicate with words, did we?  Where you withdrew, I acted out.  Where you partied, I cried myself to sleep.  Where you refused to budge, I screamed on the inside for you to take the lead.

And I smiled to your face like I was completely unaffected, because no matter how much time passed or how many missteps I took, you never stopped being the only one I ever really, desperately wanted.  Such simple words, I could never say:

I’m sorry, I never meant to be so wrong, I just wanted you to see me, hear me, touch me, want me.

So, I have no idea how you’re doing.  I’ve no idea if you’re happy or lousy, or if every now and then, I sneak into your thoughts with the wistful imaginings of what might have been, had we…

…had you been younger. Had I been older. Had you been a little less decent and I a little less insecure.

Now, the moment’s done.  These raw feelings will fade into the resonating echoes of my heart once more and I’ll go back to living.

I’ll go back to forgetting, and regretting.  I’ll stop wondering and picturing us in another time when we still had an eternity to choose better ways, demand answers we weren’t old enough to take, and find the love we never had the courage to make.

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