Hindsight.

Casablanca

This moment will come to me later, clear as day, when the thought is unwelcome.

I will see the same scene that I have always seen, that I have been replaying in my head.  We are sitting at a table.  I ask you a question, the content of which I have forgotten by now.  It is something vaguely charming and coy.  I bite my straw while I wait for you to answer.  You say something that is clever and funny, like you normally do, and I giggle.  I tell you something about you that I like.  You look at me in your way, and it makes my heart stop.  I think there are things you aren’t saying so I try to read your gaze instead.

But the memory will come back to me again, and my field of vision will widen just enough. We are sitting at a table.  I ask you a question because the conversation has waned.  We have nothing left to say to each other.  I ask you a question out of desperation to still appear vaguely charming and coy, although I know I no longer carry any mystery about me.  I bite my straw, a nervous habit that I notice you’ve noticed.  You say something that is clever and funny, like you normally do, but your tone is half-hearted, and your gaze falls to a past patron’s initials etched onto the tabletop.  Your shoes toe the floor beneath us.  I tell you something about you that I like because I can’t hold any of my thoughts back.  You look at me in a way that says “thank you” with a trace of “I wish I felt the same way about you.”  It makes my heart stop.  There are many things you are not saying, but I don’t ask because I’ve asked about what’s on your mind too many times already.  If it was really important, I guessed you would tell me.

When I look back on it, that moment, however inconsequential it seemed at the time, will haunt me.  I will wonder why I could have ever seen it any other way for so long.  I will feel stupid for erasing the minutia from the scene, for stripping it of its details and remembering it as I had hoped it happened, rather than how it did.  I will see it how I want to see it, until the alterations come apart at the seams and I am left with myself and my hindsight.

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