Love is so short, forgetting is so long. —Pablo Neruda
The only love that lasts is unrequited love. —Woody Allen
Above: Spring cleaning come early.
It was a double-pretty day.
The winter light shot across the sky in a cold January smear.
It was a murderous hue, smelling of sweet rot.
Something would die today.
What, she couldn’t be sure.
It didn’t worry her.
It was just a fact, an inevitable reality like gravity or air.
Water froze, leaves fell from trees, things died.
Such was life—prelude to death.
He had been looking at her for an hour or his entire life.
He couldn’t tell, time warped when when you were in the middle of something you knew you wouldn’t forget.
He studied her with generous and careful eyes, trying to will a way out or through or both.
They both were and were not alone.
Fate was collective, but the rest of it was always individual, a thing impossible to escape.
You always wondered, but you never knew, if the dice was loaded from the start.
The person paled in comparison to the potential. He fell for the latter, but was stuck with the former.
What was never met what could have been.
She was an equation he couldn’t quite crack, a problem he could barely work out.
The permutations were legion: Right people, wrong time? Wrong people, right time?
Yes? Not yet? Something better?
They had long been waiting for some decisive moment.
Some corner being turned, some card turned over.
Perhaps this was it, the gradual descent into the wisdom of illogic, the frog finding that the water is at last too much to bear.
They didn’t talk because there was nothing to discuss.
Those true private wantings were too fragile to say aloud.
Her remote, scrutinizing eyes tried to seize hold of something inside him.
“I love you” she said.
It felt insincere for him to return a declaration of love.
An echo was just a trick of physics—so he didn’t say it back.
Her words just reverberated, fading sound waves bouncing to and fro.
Wendell said it well:
To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.
The nights now are the longest, lit just barely by long-dead stars.
Real darkness has love for a face.
She knew that to love was to prepare to be devastated.
Theory differed from practice, knowledge was a far cry from experience.
It had snuck up on her—not quite ships passing in the night but something like it.
In with a bang, out with a whimper: a dream that can’t be recalled, lips that couldn’t be read, a house not a home.
To work, love had to run both ways.
This street didn’t—
its choked traffic bearing down on tired, dead end.
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