two zero one two

I. This is more than I ever could have hoped for, and sometimes I wonder if it's more than I deserve.

II. Waiting out the weather.

III. A kiss to remember me by. A strange, fevered evening, watching the world through wormwood. This all has to end soon, and I don't know how to express how perfect it's been. Or maybe I'm just not able to.

IV. We get an actual spring, and it gives way into an endless summer.

V. Irreconcilable differences.

VI. A wedding that actually makes sense, when there are so few things that I understand anymore.

VII. The ivory tower is truly no longer my home. You have shown me this much, and for that I owe you my thanks.

VIII. Music that tears itself apart.

IX. No, really.

X. Escaped, and none too soon.

XI. I wish you would understand: I am not hiding from you. I am hiding from everybody.

XII. Reconciliation after all.

XIII. We keep talking about this. I feel like there is something I need to say, or that you need me to say, and I don't know what it is.

XIV. The storm has let up, I think.


a catalog of regrets, pt. 3

There was a time I was meant to lead my people out of the darkness. Maybe I still am--I don't know. There's a lot of things that seemed certain that have become strangely nebulous in the recent weeks.

It went like this:

The sky was clear, for once. After weeks of what seemed like perpetual darkness and endless cloud cover, the night sky shone cold and bright on the earth. I had spent several weeks without the guidance of the stars, so that night I dropped everything and went out into the garden to contemplate. A crescent moon hung in the sky, and the stars burned brightly. And every single one of them was wrong.

This was not the sky I had left behind weeks before, the sky that told of a golden age for my people. I could not read this one at all. These stars were simply not mine. So, for the first time since I could remember, I found myself feeling doubt. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps everything was wrong.

I had thought myself alone in the garden, but as I stared into these foreign stars I noticed that there was someone else there. He told me that there was another way. He indulged my questions. He convinced me that the life I had been preparing for for so long--the world I had been born into--did not need to be the future. I could be myself, happy and free, untroubled by these stars.

In my weakness, I said yes. In my heart, I hoped to have both worlds.

Not one of my followers heard this exchange, but there must have been some change within me. Over the following days they all left me, one by one. My words no longer held the sway they once did. Ultimately I found myself alone. And the man I had spoken to spoke the truth: in my solitude I found myself free. And freedom was a thing more beautiful and more dreadful than I could possibly have imagined.


a catalog of regrets, pt. 2

The evening was winding down and found us on the porch with a bottle of whiskey to keep us warm as we watched the rain come. Our conversations always took a turn for the philosophical (her influence, not mine), and I mentioned a project I was hesitate to work on because I didn't want to bother anyone. She looked at me with a drunken intensity. "Man, don't be such a fucking coward. The only things I regret are the things I didn't do."

We'd known each other for years. Sometimes I thought of it as more of an alliance of mutual convenience than a friendship--we'd decided to be there for each other because nobody else would. So I was the one she told all of her secrets, just like she was the one who got to see the darkness I tried to hide from the world. We kept each other in check.

I've always felt that anyone who uses the line about regretting things you didn't do sincerely is either a liar or a dangerous sociopath. Every single living human being is capable of acts of unfathomable monstrosity, just as they are capable of doing things so amazingly kind you find yourself telling the story years later. So I said something like "you sure about that?" and hinted at one of the stories she'd told me years before.

"That's not the point. You always miss the point." The point, she explained, was that I needed to stop being such a fucking coward. And she was right, of course. As ever, my quest for accuracy in all things caused me to miss the point completely.

One more thing I regret, I suppose.


a catalog of regrets, pt. 1

She regrets that she believed him, or perhaps merely that she believed in him. She's not really sure what precisely she believed that was wrong, but privately she suspects that she simply wanted him to be an entirely different person than he was. And, worse, she expected him to play along. And he would persist in not doing so, and they would both get angry. She regrets some of the things she said when she was angry--she regrets that anger has a way of making you say things you really mean.

He regrets that he meant every word. He always means every word, and this gets him into trouble, because it's far more important to him than saving his relationships with the people around him. Or perhaps that's simply his excuse. Sometimes he imagines that his obsessive adherence to the truth is really just his way of denying his anger. He regrets that he doesn't understand the self he is so obsessed with protecting. He suspects that she understood his self better than he did, and he regrets that she never shared that understanding.

She regrets the dim sense that she lives in a bubble. She has overcome her reclusive tendencies and surrounded herself with people that are all amazing and brilliant and clever and witty, who talk about the things she likes talking about and make the sort of art that she likes to consume. She regrets that she feels claustrophobic sometimes with all these amazing people around, that sometimes all she wants to do is curl up with a book and shut out the world. She wishes that people understood how wonderful her life is. She wishes that she understood how wonderful her life is.

He regrets his tendency to replay conversations in his mind and relive the moment as if it were happening right now. He has always been fascinated by the idea of alternate history--if this one thing had happened slightly differently, the entire world would be different today. He feels that most of his conversations are similar. He could have done it differently, done it right. He knows that this is wrong, of course, but his mind refuses to listen. His mind refuses to do a lot of things he wishes that it would.