--John Milton, Paradise Lost

Loss and love. Past tense happiness. Adages and soundbytes of comfort and hope have no place and no purchase in a battered heart and broken mind. If it was better to have loved and lost, why was everything suddenly so meaningless? Everything that had come before, everything that was yet to stretch out the disease of existence. Life leads you down a road and then the road crumbles and disappears. Free-fall. Nothing to look for, nothing to reach for, no way to scream for help.

Coward. Thief. Liar. Beggar. Bastard. Hold him in your dreams and tell yourself that is not reality. When that is all you have worth breathing for. Dreams. Memories. Memories of the rear-view mirror and his figure, the last glimpse of it, behind tears and fading into the distance. Dreams of passion and dreams of violence that laugh and mock and make you insane. Amazing the sacrifices we offer the dawn. A wink of passion, a burst of life, and then it’s over. Then you wake up.

In an instant you hate him. The memory of him. Sloping back and strong shoulders, golden skin you can still feel like a phantom clinging to every nerve. Provocative, pleading. You unworthy fool. Guilt weighs your stomach even for touching him in your dreams. Pouting perfect lips coming close to your cheek, your mouth, your straining, still-living places that salute him in the unconscious halls of fantasy. Erotic, undeniable, memories of a different sort that you can’t erase. His fingers are a slip-noose around you, curling inside you however they can, tightening on your heart. Killing you slowly with the knowledge and the truth that he is still somewhere, as before, open for you if only you weren’t a coward. In the next instant you love him again, because hating him is like holding your breath underwater.

The end of the world. You’re wandering lost on the rain-slick streets of a town once abandoned. Umbrella blown inside-out, but it doesn’t even matter. Let cold and sickness and death consume this existence if they wish, because there is nothing left to lose.

Bring him back. Turn back time. Promise to do it right. Let him search, let him appear.

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