Why Not?

 

after all, it's "one of those nights,"
isn't it? i mean, i sit here in the
dark wishing i could do one thing, wanting
to do another, wanting to be anywhere but
here, but comfortable no place else on
earth but here. one of "those" nights.
you know the kind i mean. restless and
reckless, cautious and careful just the
same, because you know where these emotions
leave you.

so i put that music in and turn out the light
and bring up the screen and distract myself
from the music with these words. just a test
to see if it all still hurts as horribly as it
used to. to see if i am stronger now, or if i'm
still too very close to that place.

and if i close my eyes while these songs play,
i am traveling along Kansas Expressway just at
dusk on my way to work, with the wind, hot and
dark, blowing in on me from the open window of
the car, looking for one car that is gone, will
never, ever return. or it's early morning and
i'm driving home in the new day, tired and wanting
sleep, letting the music wash over me, sometimes
giving me a little hope. pulling into my driveway
and just sitting and looking at my house.
remembering...

but if i keep my eyes open, if i sing along with
this song, i'm right here at the foot of these
mountains in Alabama, with Lake street right
outside my window, with the river out my back
door, with the traffic on the bridge adding its
own tempo to the song.

and i think i need to keep my eyes open now. i
can't let myself go back to that place, that
dark, hot road just at sunset, or just after
dawn. i can't ever go back there. why would
i even want to? all it ever was was pain and
rage and confusion and endless, endless nights
of hopes crushed, of innocence lost forever in
the dark lies of a black soul, in the shiny
sharpness of a knife. there was never anything
there for me except these lessons in survival
and futility. one of those life lessons that
i wish i'd been able to learn just from hearing
someone else tell of their experience, not from
experiencing it myself.

you never think of me, do you? you never remember
looking deeply into my eyes and telling me you
loved me, because it was never love, it was something
else, some sort of test for yourself, the start of
some other journey for you, which started at my own
journey's end, at my expense. but it was worth it,
right? i should have been happy for you, that you
were able, finally, to do what you had to do for
yourself. that it nearly destroyed me, that you
were the architect of my descent into endless pain
and fear and a dance with death at the tip of a
knife blade, well, that's not the important thing.
no. that was just an unfortunate accident. you
were then, and perhaps still are, very sorry that it
all happened to me, but look how well it turned out
for you! i should be happy for you, if i loved you
as deeply as i claimed i did.

yeah. right.

there's a price you pay at getting your own happiness
at the expense of someone else's. perhaps you've realized
that now, maybe you're even paying your installments on
that price. it's a dear cost. sometimes you even have
to borrow to make the payments. sometimes you have to
borrow from someone you tell that you love, knowing you
will never be able to repay what you've taken. that can
eat at you in the middle of the night. that can manifest
itself in physical ailments. maybe you've learned that.

all i know is that i am here alone in this room on a friday
night in February listening to this music and the sirens
screaming over the bridge and i'm thinking of those times
we spent together. i'm thinking of those lies that you
didn't realize were lies when you told them. i'm thinking
of the exact shade of your eyes, the feel of your skin
under my hands and i'm wondering if hating you is worth
the price i'll pay.

somehow i really doubt if it is.

denise

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