The first time I saw her, she was standing in front of me at a show. I was afraid to go talk to her, compelled though I was--later on, she said she remembered seeing me, too. We were friends for a while, past tense, had an argument, stopped being friends--my fault, her fault, it doesn't matter. Nobody's mad anymore, is what's important. So it comes back to me that our relationship will end just like it started: she's standing in front of me, but I'm too afraid to talk to her.
A bottle of wine (Chardonnay) is roughly sufficient to accomplish a lot of things, most of which involve forgetting something. I was about a bottle into the evening when a friend of mine came by for an unexpected visit. I was, of course, trying to forget something (a bad day) and told him as much (because I was a bottle of wine into the evening) and he shook his head at me and told me I was like any given white trash getting trashed on a twelve-pack of Bud at the end of the day. I shrugged and told him there's a difference, and he, incredulous, asked me what it was.
With wine, I said, it's classy.
I went to a party. It was in my honor. There were lots of things I wasn't sure about: whether I deserved it, whether I should pretend I deserved it, whether I should just say hi to everyone and slip away quietly. And there was a girl, I didn't know her but she knew me, who told me I would go have fun and she told me to go have fun, dammit, and pushed me into the crowd, but I didn't want to. I think she knew that. She was hoping I'd cave under pressure, but instead I just sneaked out, because I was afraid of her. She saw me go. Our eyes met; she looked, not hurt, but disappointed. And we both knew I didn't deserve it.
Lately I've been haunted by this feeling I've done something wrong. I couldn't put my finger on it--at first I didn't even understand it. I was upset. Not angry or irritable, but I felt as if the world was wrong, as if my life were going the wrong direction and I caught a glimpse of it. Smiles I once thought were friendly seemed mocking now--were they laughing at me? Had I got it wrong all this time?
That feeling came from somewhere, I knew. I knew I'd done something that led to this. But where? And did I do it recently or did I only just now start to feel it? What caused this feeling of dislocation?
I couldn't figure it out. I couldn't figure out why nothing made sense anymore--why even my own smile felt forced, uncertain, forbidden. Then the dread took me. I had been wrong about everything. I'd blinded myself, ever since--yes, that was it. In the end, all of my problems went back, some two years prior, when I made the mistake--not the biggest of my life, but the keystone, the mistake that laid the foundation for a hundred others.
The worst of it was, I couldn't stop myself. I had developed such incredible inertia, that though I knew what was happening I had no control over it, as if it were written in the stars--but I was the one who etched it in there, long ago, not understanding the significance of my words, like some mad oracle who spoke cryptic words that only made sense once the event had come to pass.
I curse the black and midnight hags that ever hailed me king--and damned be him that first cries "Hold, enough!"