Photo by K. Arellano

Icarus

Regret — is thinking, what if you hadn’t been so proud when he confessed, “You’re different.”

Is leaving a place feeling you could have started a story there, somehow. When you turn your back, you add yet another narrative to your growing pile of could have beens.

Regret is coffee turned cold, memory gone stale, ash in your mouth and you smoke on, sending silver stalks to the sky, like a prayer, a mantra, a cry.

They say home is where the heart is, but you can’t find it anymore — home and heart both. What does it mean to be lost? Sometimes you feel more alone with people you’ve known for years than with strangers in a crowded station.

A thirty-something told you, “It’s okay, I don’t have it all figured out either,” and you wonder if that was meant to be sympathy, or a prophecy. Either way it chilled you to the bone.

What are scars but memories hardened on your skin? The memory of you picking up glass shards when your father took deadly aim and only slightly missed. The permanent reminder of a bad decision, or that time you and a friend drove away from a party with alcohol on your breath and lofty dreams inside your head.

(You were Icarus, you flew too close to the sun.)

(Another time, you were Orpheus — you ruined the present by looking back, unable to see what was in front of you.)

When you leave for good, he says again, “You’re different,” only, this time the words were meant to hurt, defeat you.

When you leave him for good, you tell yourself, don’t look back.