Autumn Memories

April 27, 2018

Kevin Dwyer was 42 years old, but his mind and memories were thinking about a different time. He sat by the window drinking his coffee.  The tree across the street rustled gently in the breeze, and the clouds floated slowly through the clear blue sky, over the mountains in the distance.
“How is your wife?” His friend asked.
“I don’t love her.” He said calmly watching the steam rise from his coffee mug. “It looks nice outside” he said staring off again longingly into the distance.
“You don’t love your wife?” His friend asked questioningly.
“Love is rare. I have only loved once.” He replied. “It was just after high school. Nothing ever came of it. She got married and moved on with her life. I did the same. But I’ve only ever felt that way for her.” He paused and his friend waited for him to continue. “Sometimes I think back and wonder what I could have done. How it could have been different. But sometimes you can love so strong and it’s just not returned. Sometimes I hope or pray that when we die we just get to live over again. Everyone else oblivious but you’re completely aware. You can fix your mistakes. Because when you’re young you don’t have that knowledge or experience, you don’t know what happened. How can you live right without the training for it. That’s what I want when I die.”
“I had a girl too” the friend said, causing him to look up. “We were high school sweethearts. Dating all the way through. We would always fight and argue. We made mistakes. We were young. I think that naivity made me want more experience. I’d sent photos to other girls and we’d break up, and get back together. She was a huge flirt. Always flirting with all our friend group. She was so pretty. Not like a model. But like the girl next door. But she had such sexual charisma that everyone wanted her. After school we broke up, she hooked up with my best friend. We weren’t together but we were each others rocks. We still hung out and still slept together. She met a guy and they started dating. Soon she cut everyone off. The entire friend group. She just disappeared. Here one day gone the next. Erased herself from our lives. I got pretty messed up after that. A string of bad relationships, drugs. It took me a long time to fix my life. She was such a big part of it to go missing. I still think back on her and those times. I don’t even know what she looks like now. It’s been 22 years. I still miss the conversations. I still miss her.” His voice broke a little as he finished his sentence.
Kevin looked at him. Sipped his coffee and said. “It’s hard. You think about them all the time and you wonder if you’re even important enough to cross their mind. The ghosts of our pasts haunt us, and yet, they’re not ghosts. Because they’re out there living their lives, and we’re the ghosts living in distance memories. Stuck in the past with lost love. I’m sorry for bringing this up. I always dwell on this in Autumn. The warm sun and cool gentle breeze take me to a different time.”
“That’s ok” his friend said “I guess it helps to talk. I haven’t told anyone. It’s hard. The group of friends I had then are all gone. It makes my heart heavy knowing these guys, who you grow up with, share adventures with, who you think will be there forever but are now gone. No one to remember the past with.”
“I don’t know how it all falls apart so fast.” Kevin said finishing off his coffee. “I guess it’s just a moment etched in time. A somber distant memory that blows in on an Autumn breeze to remind these two old men that they’re nothing but ghosts haunting a forgot dream.”
They sat in silence for a while, watching the clouds roll over the mountain, and thought of their pasts.

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‘What If?’

November 3, 2010

The cold concrete steps beneath me as I sit, watching the passers by.
My train has not arrived yet.
She walks down the stairs across the platform with her friend.
Her blonde hairs falls from her head, lush and graceful.
She tries to walk across the platform and I smile. She cannot walk in heels.
She looks at me and we smile at each other.
I continue to sit as a cool breeze blows against my neck.
I remove my hat and shuffle my hands through my hair. The breeze is nice.
I pull my phone out and inspect the time.
There is still time.
Still time until my train arrives.
I glance over at the girls, I see them glance back and giggle.
I smile to myself and change the song on my iPod.
Children finishing school rush past me, yelling at each other.
I cannot hear them but watch as they race in time to my music.
A freight train passes as I tip my head back against the white poles along the stairs.
I close my eyes and let go.
I feel the wind and the sound of a fading freight as I slip away from reality.
The train passes and the song changes. I check the time.
I still have time.
The girl gets up and begins to walk over, I could swear she looked at me.
But my cynicism tells me she will pass.
She is next to me now. I see her smooth white legs in front of me.
My heart beats.
Could she stop?
She stops. She turns and kneels down next to me and begins to talk.
I remove my headphones and talk back.
She is beautiful.
And we chat friendly. I wonder how this could happen, and why, and my heart races.
I mumble and say everything wrong.
I panic under pressure.
I try to take in all the information, but my brain is lapsing.
What did she say her name was?
It was like a dream and when you wake, try as you might to remember, it slips falling through a void.
A void where you can never reach it, in the empty crevices of your mind.
I try to remember. But I can’t. It’s like trying to catch wind with your hands.
Soon the time comes and the train arrives.
I wish I had more time.
I have forgotten, and no matter how far and wide I search I still cannot find what I am looking for.
If only the time on my phone moved in reverse.
If it gave me more time.
If I could have said what I thought, what I meant… what I truly felt.
Would that have been so wrong?
But time goes on. Forward. Seconds lead into minutes. Minutes lead into hours. Hours lead into days.
And the next time you wake you lose a little bit more.
Sometimes I wonder… when we die… do we perhaps live again?
Do we simply relive life, over and over again, without the knowledge that this has all happened before?
With that dying thought being ‘What If?’
With no memory we repeat our lives. Repeat our mistakes.
But with that nagging feeling in the back of our minds.
Has this happened before?
Or was it, perhaps, a dream?