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What if I was the reasonable one and you the overthinker?

Fiction | Beauty, Flash Fiction, love
January 20, 2023

What if you stay?  

Checked myself in the mirror today. I really had to check; I was coming undone. Over what—you? You who? You who didn’t notice me until you did. You who paid me no compliment around our friends. You who took. And took. You who said you loved me. You who made me believe it. You who left. You who came back. You who needed me. Yoo-hoo? 

It arrived. An 8” x 11” package tossed professionally over the gate, soaring past the cement landing and clearing the eight steps to my door: a birthday gift. Your favorite book. How thoughtful, how unexpected. 

Somebody aged or got a promotion or figured it was Saturday night. I played the waiting game. Everyone left and so there I was; and somebody right there. Process of elimination. They were mustachioed and bearded, with bits of food stuck in their chin bushel. Vulnerable as any: a fool.

I fucked him. He wasn’t you. And then he fucked me, who has always been me. 

I inquired about you during my tarot reading. The cards thought that you were my forever person. She gave me the reading during a party. It was the weekend we rented a beach house in San Diego. The reader with moonlight pouring in overhead through the skylight. Candles lit, seated on the ground, the floor creaky with every shift of her body. Three cards: hermit, empress, tower.

I avoided you for weeks. But then I didn’t know if I was supposed to avoid you or if it was happening already, retroactively. I decided I could text you to see if you wanted to go to that show. She only went on tour every so often, after all.

Beauty is the most noble of virtues, they say. It feels like a union, to be struck by beauty. As if a bridge collapsed and drew you to the sea below. How it hurts to look at your face, it’s every course, and trace on it only the way you want to leave me.

Why did you leave us on this collapsing bridge?

I went past that bar. I thought I saw our ghosts there in the large front windows facing the street, bodies turned toward one another. I wondered if I would ever call that place my old haunt. It felt supernatural. Like a soul was pulsing under everything. 

You didn’t text me back. Maybe I should forgive, be selfless, practice something akin to noble love—but love is always noble. It’s all semantics in the end.  

A fool loves, but how does a fool hurt? 

The storm came. It frightened everyone. You texted me then, to make sure my roof wasn’t still leaking. I double-checked; the roof was fine. 

What if you stayed? 

What if I was the reasonable one and you the overthinker? What if we balanced each other out: a beautiful wash?