The bus glides down the sky rail as it makes its way towards the next stop– my stop. But I don’t register it. I can’t feel the shift in gravity, or the flickering light from the window. It’s like I’m stuck in tunnel vision.
In front of me, to the seat on the other side of the bus, is a human girl holding hands with a robot companion. And yet, despite being mere feet away from me, they’re like blips surrounded by darkness, my line of sight drifting further away as it plunges into some sort of chasm.
Will I reach the bottom? Does it end?
It wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t.
It doesn’t need to, anyway. I’m not getting out of this hole. I can’t let myself.
“What the hell are you doing here, Morgan?”
A year of trust and friendship snapped in half, stomped on, shattered into a million pieces, ground into dust, atomized into elemental particles.
By me. It was all me.
When the time came to make an excuse or play coy, to act like it was all a joke–I couldn’t do it. Not when I saw her once-chipper expression melt before my very eyes. It wasn’t even anger. Not at first.
First came the embarrassment. She saw me, saw her friends seeing me, ushered them away so she could have a conversation with me, her cheeks turned into traffic signals. Her evening had been ruined before it could even begin. There was no turning back from that, and it only took her a few seconds to register it.
There was no ignoring it. It wasn’t something that could wait.
I followed her–stalked her, to put it less mildly–and tried to find out a secret she trusted me to avoid. I swore I’d protect her with my life, if I had to, but here, all I did was threaten it.
I was the enemy. I am the enemy.
The mustache twirling bank robber tying a damsel to the train tracks– that’s me. Mustache sold separately, but I’m too cheap to buy one. So instead of a villain, I’m just a baby-faced asshole who hurt a friend.
Lost a friend, probably.
“You followed me here. I can’t believe you followed me here. Why would you do something like that? Why would you– Morgan.”
“No, don’t. Don’t speak.”
“Shut up. Don’t talk to me. Don’t look at me. I don’t want to see you ever again. I hate you.”
I didn’t even have the decency to do that. I just kept looking at her, watching her eyes well up with tears and her glasses fog up until there was nothing but the gray smoke of what I had done.
It wasn’t like I was ignorant. I knew I shouldn’t have been doing it. I knew it was wrong to do. I knew that I knew that, and yet I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be able to count on myself being a decent human being.
Now I’m letting myself fall deeper into the chasm that’s clouding my eyesight, so that maybe, if I try hard enough, I’ll stop existing altogether.
The zipline bus reaches my sky rail stop, and I can feel the sensation of my body moving, of my feet stepping onto the metal platform, of my hand holding a transit card and tapping it against the exit gate. But I didn’t actually do any of those things. I couldn’t have, because I can’t even see the street in front of me. The world before me is a tiny dot, blurring up as I fall further away.
I’d like to feel the sensation of liquid rolling down my cheeks, to help my body feel some semblance of remorse for what I did, but no amount of energy from my mind can make it happen. My body doesn’t feel like I deserve tears.
The last thing she said hurt me the worst. I was stabbed in the arm, and that was nothing. I healed. I can’t heal from this.
It wasn’t another insult, or telling me to leave her life forever, that she said to me. That wouldn’t have been heart-rending enough, because I was already telling myself that.
After she said, “I hate you,” she put her hand to her mouth, took two steps back, and said:
“I’m sorry. I– I’m really sorry.”
There’s no coming back from that.
Being torn apart limb by limb, you can come back from, if you go to a hospital. Being cheated on or tossed out a window, you can come back from, with time.
You can’t come back from being apologized to by someone you just hurt.
No. Please don’t be sorry. It’s not okay.
You can’t be sorry, because there’s nothing to be sorry about.
I’m the one who’s sorry. You don’t get to be. It’s just me.
My body carries me up the stairs, and then it takes out my keys and its hands unlock the door. I let myself fall deeper into the chasm.