regret, pt. 1


Memory plays funny tricks on you if you aren't paying attention. Or even if you are. You left without warning, so of course I didn't know that the last time we met would be the last time we met, but suddenly that night loomed large in my mind. You seemed subdued, fidgety, nervous--not the breezy, confident woman I knew. Not the girl who was as annoying as she was enchanting. The girl I was drinking with that night seemed defeated.

I didn't dare ask what was wrong, because you had taught me that this sort of thing was usually a trap. But the trap never sprung. The night wore on and you became increasingly agitated, and after we left, rather than wait for the bus like we usually did, you insisted on walking, and as we walked you talked endlessly, gesticulating wildly. You were a little drunk, and you were talking very fast, and you tripped over your words or used the wrong ones, and didn't stop to correct yourself. And I thought: this isn't you. This is someone else entirely.

We reached the door to my house you looked like you had something you wanted to say, something you'd been trying to say or build up to all this time, and for a moment I swear you were looking at me like you needed help. I smiled and said "did you forget where your house is?" and suddenly, effortlessly, the woman I knew you as returned, smiled charmingly, and said, "No, I was just making sure you remembered how to work the doorknob." When I demonstrated that I did, you grinned and left.

And that's how I remember that evening. For the first time since I'd known you, you were vulnerable, and I just played the same stupid game we were always playing. Rather than try to help you--someone I cared deeply about, despite all evidence that this was a terrible idea--I decided to treat you the way you'd always treated me. I'd take it back if I could.


Kizolk said...

There's nihilism too. It's not usually considered an emotion per se, but it makes for a great counterpoint to most of them. Though I guess nihilism lacks this...directionality? that hope and regret have. It abolishes time. Then again, what I'm referring to is closer to depression, rather than nihilism.

Regret is a nice choice; its potentially crippling effect makes for a nice counterpoint to hope's enabling effect. If you were someone else, I'd probably suggest you to make a chart about the different relationships between human emotions... ;)

Speaking of suggestions, make what you want of the following, but it wouldn't be half-inconvenient to have a way to access at once all stories for a given character.

Rob said...

I think what you're talking about is really the opposite of any sort of emotion: that gnawing void where there is no feeling at all. It's hard to write about.

I will look into it. I'm not sure if Blogger does tags very well at all, but I'm sure there are other ways. In the meanwhile, the search bar at the top works pretty well for the names thing, though of course it's not obvious that it only searches this blog. That is the tool I've been using when I need to reread the old stuff, anyway.