Memory does not change the nature of hurt, over time you forget but in an instant a touch or whisper or faded headline in the newspaper functions as time machine.

The firetruck’s sirens fills your heart with dread, but hope too. If your former lover’s house is on fire suddenly there is an imperative beyond your control that compels you to once again be in the same time, in the same place. “It would be rude not to see if they are ok” your heart says, stealthily draped in the clothes of logic.

The battle becomes confused. There is no “one side” and “the other” anymore.

My friend in China says:

“Suddenly I can’t stand it –

Are you still alive? Do you miss me?

Breathing, choking, choking – run.”

Her lover has revealed his other life. What was once a seemingly perfect connection divides into more strands than expected. Pros and cons and what ifs take over her chemicals and synapses. Is there an opposite of dopamine? Some rail station in the brain for anxiety where things combine to create a bullet train speeding out of control towards destruction?

Two years ago rushes in. Walking to the park with Nate’s son on my shoulders. My (now ex-) wife jogs by headed home, and my muted “hi” tells her what I know. She would not tell me, despite my pleas, so I did the only logical thing you can do when you know your lover has found the arms of another.

The whys are always unsatisfying. Like anyone I want to know what happened, when, where, and how. I never demanded these things when she and I first met, never said “why do we enjoy each other’s company” or “how does this work” and yet now I have a masochistic hunger for all details.

I am removed now, but the memories activate the same violence in my brain. Knowing one thing or another does not salve the wound.

Will we hurt without love?


Because of it?


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