As we talk about our lives and hopes and regrets, I try to ignore the fact she's buying me dinner. This bottle of Merlot we're sharing is on her dime. "I've always tried to live without regrets," I say. I spear a mouthful of pasta with my fork while she agrees fervently, admires me for what I've said. "I don't know how people live with regret."

She reminds me of a lot of people, all of them gone, all of them regrets. Former lovers, ex roommates, friends who've fallen out of touch. People I'd alienated or manipulated or simply gotten bored with and moved on, knowing the whole time I was being a monster. And I'm not exactly lying. I do try to live that way.

I am watching her lips as she drinks, watching her wet her lips with her tongue before she speaks. She tells me I'm a gentle soul, a man of profound thoughts and quick wit. She thinks I am a paradox, a mystery. I am watching her eyes as she says she likes that about me. "Thanks," I say, not sure if I mean it.

We finish our meal. I am watching the waitress as she flambes my date's dessert. I am watching my ice cream melt. After she finishes, she asks if I want to come back to her apartment. I am watching her hands as she signs the check. "Sure," I say.

We go back to her apartment. I am watching her naked back as she falls asleep, apparently happy. Now that she is asleep I am utterly alone. I whisper in her ear that I don't know how I live with regret, either, knowing she can't hear me.

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