“It’s been a while,” she says quietly, her fingers running over the scars on my arm. Like she can see my past and future, like palm reading. I wonder, briefly, how that would sound: You have lived a hard life, the fortune teller might say. This one indicates you will lead a long life. And I would think, no, it doesn’t. It indicates that I once owned a cat and that you are a fraud.
She isn’t false, though, not in any way. Her gentle gaze is still earnest. She doesn’t have scars for me to read, just a flourish of freckles over her nose.
“I know,” I mumble, avoiding those blue eyes. She deserved answers. I didn’t have enough for either of us.
Soft hands continue to feather over my skin. An idle wish to die crosses my mind. If I could exist only in her hands, the rest of me could end. If only. “I wish you would visit more often.” She says it plainly, but my heart breaks all the same.
My fist clenches lethargically. No white knuckles or fingernails in my palm. Just regret and aching joints. “I wish I would, too. I wish it was that easy…” Excuses, excuses. I curse them as they leave my lips, but I have nothing better to offer.
“It’s complicated,” she says. “That’s what you always tell me.” Again, she speaks without admonishment or disappointment. How can a soul weather a wretch like me and still be so tolerant.
Again, I want to die here, in this bed, so that I will never have to leave. But I know, soon, my demons will drag me away. Things I want to keep away from her, keep me away from her. It’s all a hell of my own making, but she wants to play Orpheus all the same. She would only destroy us both.
She lifts her hands away. “Did you want coffee? I know sometimes it helps.” Unspoken: Sometimes it makes me nervous, and I leave faster. I can already feel the tug of the underworld, even now. Still.
“Coffee would be nice,” I say, with only a hint of regret. She hears it, though. She knows this visit won’t be a long one. But she still smiles and dismounts from the bed with Olympian grace. I close my eyes before she reaches the threshold, so I won’t have to watch her leave. I breathe deeply. One last moment of this. One last moment of pretending I can stay, pretending I won’t ruin everything, that we can live in peace.
I wish I would die here.