What Once Was

So I kissed you one last time. One final kiss so that we’d never forget. One kiss so that if we ever lost our way we could use it to find our way back.”
These Pictures of You

It is funny to look back upon the words that mark a past that I never expected to see and experiences I never expected to have. I look back and see the wreckage of something beautiful and wonder if there is a phoenix preparing to rise from the carnage. It could happen and I wouldn’t be surprised anymore than I would be if I spotted that bony guy with the scythe staring at me.

I look in the mirror and see a bastard looking back at me. His eyes are sharp and piercing and his lips are curled into a sneer. He is an angry and bitter man who wishes that he could be other than that. He wishes that life were different or at least he used to wish that it were different. These days he feels more like a dog that has been kicked one time too many. These days he is filled with indignation that he wishes he could say was righteous but it is not. There is nothing noble or honorable about it. He recognizes and accepts that.

He won’t say that it is his lot in life to be the tortured soul forever but he accepts that for the indefinite future his penance is to be incarcerated in a cage of his own device. He is his own jailor and there is none crueler than he for he knows every weak spot and he preys upon them all. It is part of how he punishes himself for doing what he swore that he would never do. His role in his walk through hell is to accept that he is there because of his own actions. He won’t call it stupidity because that provides another excuse and he just cannot accept that.

Besides it is easier to cloak himself in anger because that fire allows him to forget what it is he lost. Anger makes it easy to say goodbye to those we miss the most and he has decided that he has to force himself to walk away. None fought harder to hold on than he did. There are no heroes who can say that their efforts to succor and save exceeded his- but sometimes heroes fail. Sometimes they fall and they must accept that failure no matter how bitter it might taste. Once upon a time he was that hero. There were no villains that could stand before him. There were no puzzles that he couldn’t solve or traps that he couldn’t defuse.

And then there was.

In silence and shame he tasted the bitterness of defeat and salty tears dribbled down his cheeks. Alone in the dark he wept and cursed his own weakness and infirmity.

There had been a time where he would have taken the time to analyze what had happened. He would have broken it down into segments and determined where he had made mistakes and somehow he would have fixed those mistakes. By hook or by crook he would have found a way to create the miracle that he needed to save the day.

But he hadn’t and he didn’t. There wasn’t much more to say than that. No need to dwell upon that which he couldn’t fix or face. Accept it. Deal with it. Move on. Put one foot in front of the other and repeat. No different than the directions on the shampoo bottle.

The time for hope is over and the time for despair and dismay has come. Look in the mirror and remember that one day the sneer won’t be needed any longer and the cool waters of regret will be washed away by the amnesia of time and distance.

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