186

by Violet

It’s funny how quickly things can change. Your favourite cafe has caved to the new competition that opened next door, and I am too afraid of your shadow to visit mine. I still drink coffee but I never add sugar anymore; some days I taste more bitter than black espresso.

It was the way you chose to remember me. We sat in mutual regret, two stupid kids who fell in love with so much enthusiasm we didn’t know how to fall out without falling to pieces. I fidgeted with my sleeves, waiting for you to speak, to make an effort, to put some substance into the words you kept repeating. I still loved you enough to believe you could change, even when you couldn’t look at me. Maybe because you knew you couldn’t fix your mistakes, and you saw our meeting for what it was: an empty gesture; salt on my wounds. I will pretend you felt shame.

It was the way you sighed, it caught me off guard. Years of regret frozen in the solemn air, lingering,  the world was locked in slow motion, and I couldn’t cry anymore, my tears had hardened. There was pain in your eyes too, and I was responsible, I made sure we’d suffer together. I would trade our most colourful memories for one last miserable fight with you, to disagree violently and unapologetically, to scream and shout and show no mercy, to remember you in more than just faded mistakes.

I waited for you to fall asleep while I rested my shoulders on your chest and counted your heartbeat. I heard you mumble an awkward apology and realised I would never learn to forgive you. Maybe because if I don’t hate you I might have to actually feel something and that could kill me. Maybe because I would trade all our memories together just to remember what it feels like to be whole again. Maybe because I am in love with this pain, this exquisite pain of being incomplete, the intoxicating allure of feeling broken.