she said, and the words stopped. And sometimes, he said, and you were; I know, she nodded, there’s no doubt I was. He sighed, she looked the other way.
We might have, she held up a hand then let it fall. He had thought they would and so had she, but at another point in time. At each of those moments the other’s glance down or unaltered stride had signalled, somehow, that no.
This was always, she thought later, seated alone in a cafe – the sun striking the window threw passers-by back at themselves, occluding her face – this was always the way it went. (She was grateful for this her-sized pocket in the underbelly of illumination.) The details were different, but they all meant, in the end, the same unwashed hair, the nights spent captive to the glow of the screen, the ugly bright of mornings.
If I could, she thought, but knew the rest of this idea would never shrug from its shoulders the conditional mood. There was a resonant peace to this, a tender, acute deceleration. He had been so, she knew, but hadn’t they all? Hadn’t each of them, until they no longer were?
It’s not you it’s, she had tried, and I just don’t think I’m, and then, maybe we’d be better as, and one day you’ll make someone, but each of these, one after the other, had wilted to the floor.