And I’m still writing dark fiction. (And getting internet rage, which I’m sure will one day be a real thing. Like road rage.)
I imagined it over and over. What it would have been like. The music. The people. The colours. The flowers. The cars.
What I would have done and felt and said.
I can’t get it back though. I can’t get the time back. The opportunity back.
It was taken from me, it was denied me.
Anger curls my fists, clenches my teeth. I breathe sharply, as if my breath alone could cut a hole in time and take me back.
With the courage I have now, the knowledge I have now, I would not let her stop me. I would stand up and tell her what I was going to do. I would scream and cry if need be. I would get my chance to say goodbye.
The past is the past. It can’t be changed. You can’t change the past, only the future.
I close my eyes and try to breathe deep, to breathe out the rage. I played my part too. Blame can only go so far before it reflects back.
I step onto pavement, feet tracing a new path. I follow mindlessly as I am shown the way. Twisting concrete through an artificial landscape. Flowers in spring bloom, blue sky, birds singing their songs, unaware that this is not a happy place.
The guide leaves me alone. I do not see his face. He is just a blur, a man who knows nothing of how I came to this place. Of how the unmarked grave came to be a part of my story.
It is a bare patch of earth, this place that he came to rest.
I can hear his voice as I kneel there, shouting and swearing and threatening. I see his tears. I hear his voice wobbling over the phone near the end. I hear the regret, I feel the regret. I hear the pain, I feel the pain. I hear the resignation, I feel the resignation.
Tears fall from my face onto the grass. Watering the land that lays above him.
I see myself sitting on the edge of my bed, my own ghost beside me. My ghost and I shed our tears. Once as he walked past on his way out, once as I said I wouldn’t go and watch him leave again.
There is nothing brave about either of us. We are both cowards exploited by a bully.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper, my voice strangled and strained. Drowning.
I get up. I do not belong here. There is pain in walking away, because he will remain. Even as I continue, he will always be at my back.
My stomach aches, the muscles tight and tense. My throat is an extension of that pain. It feels like the oxygen has gone from the air, my body starving for something it needs.
His arms wrap around me and I hear him promise to never leave me. “It won’t come to that.”
The future is an unknown land. We are fools to pretend otherwise.