I came home from work one night and Eris was waiting on my front step, along with all the memories I'd managed to bury in the interim years. She gave me the same tentative smile she had when we first met, and seemed to hold me at arm's length even when she wrapped her arms around me. And despite all that, just then, clear as day, I could see this beautiful future unfold.
Except none of that was possible. I didn't know why she was here, and I didn't believe her when she told me. Well, that's a lie. I knew why she was here: she was chasing a dream. It was a dream she didn't believe in, and it was a dream that wasn't going to happen even if she did, but that's why she was here. I knew the look: I'd seen her chase dreams before. I'd seen her stop believing in dreams before. Hell, I'd led her down both of those roads.
She'd led herself here, whatever else was true. We were both powerless to stop it. I knew that in a few moments I'd invite her in and offer her a beer and tell her stories and pretend nothing had ever happened. And she'd go along with it and act like there was still a shot, and that weird false optimism would be as infectious as ever. The vision I'd had of a beautiful future evaporated, and in its place was a moment of real clarity, a glimpse of the real future: this would be just as fucked up as everything else about our relationship had been. We'd rip all of our old wounds open, and for a moment, before the spell took hold, I regretted that I didn't have the strength of will to say no.