what i did for love

When I was seventeen you told me you could only love a great man, a man of magnitude. I thought we were in love. You went off to college. I almost cancelled all of my plans. Almost. Instead I carried through with them with conviction. I finished my bachelor's. I finished law school. I entered politics. I had a career. Everyone was amazed at how driven I was, how successful. They didn't understand.

You called me when I was twenty-six to say you were engaged. I asked you if he was a great man, a man of magnitude. You hesitated and said you had to go.

And I continued. I was becoming an influential figure. I was clever, charismatic, driven, articulate, perceptive. I had a future, everyone said. And I rose quickly. Everyone remarked on how selfless I was, even as everything I did advanced my career--I let others take the spotlight while I built ideas, made connections.

When I was thirty-four we met once for coffee while I was passing through and you talked about your life, and I asked if you were happy. I asked if he was everything you had hoped he'd be. You said you weren't. You continued on.

I'm forty years old now. I have the president's ear. I could make him do anything if I wanted. It's all I ever wanted. I built this war for you. Tomorrow when you hear the news talking about it--the bombs we dropped on those people, the president, grave, stern, talking about how we had to, using big words like freedom, liberty, and talking about how we were threatened--when you see the mushroom clouds and the carnage and the dying and you hear all the protests and the outrage and the hawks are supporting that decision--I want you to know that was me. I did it for you.

They look to me for guidance now. They look to me to see if they're doing it right. I'm the one this country looks up to. I'm a great man now. I'm a man of magnitude. I can shatter the world. I think I have. There's no way the world will forgive us for this. People will die--this will go down in the history books as the day the world fell. Because I love you. Because I said I would do anything for you, and I knew you'd take nothing less.


effika said...

One of my favorite things to do is scout out wedding rings in photographs, to see that little bit of private life out in public. I like thinking about the backstories- in the end it seems it's all about love.

Rob said...

It turns out just because you get older doesn't mean you get over it.