Stepping

I guess it really was that bad. That mean, that direct. I know it kept me awake on and off for the first 10 years, but I managed to medicate it away. Long enough to get some sleep anyway. And here we are 40 years down the line, at the same party, in a place we used to surf all those years ago before.

And both of us alone. Divorced, tan, still in board shops and flip flops, still wearing our hair a little too long, and behaving a little too much like teenagers, even at our age. No fear, we said, no fear when she asked me if I loved her – no conscience-no thought really. Just the lust, and the release, and what’s for dinner.

I forgot about you, our friendship, I just forgot. You remember how it was, she was just a girl to me, and I never knew how you felt until after she jumped off the bridge that night. The look in your eyes, the pain, the loss, the damage that can never be repaired, and I couldn’t meet your eyes, not then, and not for the last 4 decades and I’m not even sure you know what happened.

With me and her I mean. All these years and I never told you You never questioned why I left town unexpectedly the next week, why I was always busy when you called, why I left your messages, unanswered, blinking lights on a machine.

That’s why I'm here, today, that’s why I had to come back when I heard you were sick, why I had to ask you for your forgiveness. I paused, taking a long breath and letting the cool air from the fan dry a droplet of sweat running down my neck. I heard a sigh and raised my eyes to his face, and saw he was gone.

Him too, I thought, I’ve killed them both. I felt a sense of relief and I stood up and stretched. I had admitted my mistake and cleared my conscience- I’d followed the twelve steps on this one. Now what?

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