Every song I listen to is just variations on the same theme. Every picture I see is hers, her eyes so bright, her smile so free. Everyone I talk to uses her words. L'enfer, c'est les autres. Hell is remembering. Everything is different now. It's been years. I've made many more mistakes since then, and a few good decisions. I have fallen in love with someone else entirely, a punk rock girl who has me completely enchanted. She is not the first girl I have fallen in love with, but sometimes I think she may be the last. I have met many people and forgotten most of them. Right now everything is beautiful.

And yet.

There is a picture where she is holding a cigarette. She is smiling and saying something to the photographer. There's a moment that was captured there and there was a moment, many years ago, when I would have thought I'd be part of it. I don't know who's behind the camera. I don't know what she's saying. In the next shot her eyes are closed and she is laughing. She looks so happy. She looks so different. It kills me that I can never know that.

I have made many mistakes. I have missed opportunities. This morning it was raining and windy and bitter cold and I forgot to smile at someone who smiled at me first. I regret that. They say things like "hindsight is always 20/20" but they are full of shit. Hindsight is blinding. I don't know if I'd be happier if I hadn't fucked up. I know that everything would be completely different.

There is a photograph I still have of us. It's the most candid photo of me I have. We're both on the floor, laughing, exhausted, like there isn't someone there taking our picture. It's so unselfconscious. I feel so weird about it now because there was someone there and what were we doing? Didn't we care what we looked like?

I have the most beautiful girl in the world and I am sitting here worrying about the mistakes of years ago. I am so happy and so lucky to have her and she helps stabilize my fractured self like no one else ever has. I don't know how to write about that.

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