Orange Justice

by Charlotte E. Wilde

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Friday the thirteenth found me as it always does, curled up on my bathroom floor feeling the music pumping in and out of my chest amidst attempts to rid myself of every vestige of my alcohol induced bad decisions and you in the process. You were most assuredly not the best thing that had ever happened to me, you might have been the worst. My brain has a real penchant towards these sorts of binaries and on the wrong side of 6am I just simply didn’t have it in me to help myself. 

When you had arrived here this afternoon it was still warm enough that we sat on the back porch with cigarettes and listened to snow sliding off the roof as it melted; a strange symphony made stranger still as the smoke rings drifted away from your lips and disappeared before they met mine. We’d started out classy as you like to do, my middling bourbon fancied up into two Old Fashioned cocktails, but we both knew it was only a matter of time before this devolved into something base.

“I’ve-missed-you’s” sound better when they’re shaken, not stirred, and alcohol has a way of reminding me what I like about myself, what you might like too. Even so, I’d thought to double knot my laces so I could be ready to run; but this was no time for metaphors and proverbs. It was time for shots. So we did some. Or rather they did us. And if I’m perfectly honest the getting done was mostly to me.

I think that I loved you then, when you laughed at me in the snow and fell down the second to last step and just lay there looking up at me, unfazed and radiant. I think I loved you when I saw the blood on your teeth from where you’d bitten your tongue and how your lip curled when you pinned down the thoughts in my eye. I think I loved you when we fell breathless into the hallway and you pushed me into the corner by the stair, where secret liaisons manifested themselves in handfuls of hair and fabric and the fear of getting caught for once was less dangerous than fun. Or maybe I hated you. But half-mooned around a toilet is a place where decision making and declaration making alike echo back distorted, and is certainly no place for love.

“Je ne regrette rien,” sobbed Edith from across the hall, but I wouldn’t know anything about that. I like to bathe in my regrets. Or maybe the tail end of a bourbon binge just leaves me a little sentimental; it’s hard to tell from this porcelain vantage point.

It will be tonight before my emotions can walk a straight line and by then you’ll be half way back to Laval, back to her, away from us. But really, there was never an us. There was you, and there was me, and there was that first conference meeting that lead to “accidents;” Friday the 13th, February 29th, and full moons that gave us excuses to make mistakes. Gave us excuses to forget ourselves in each other, at least until Edith says it’s time to go home.

“Avec mes souvenirs
J’ai allumé le feu
Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs
Je n’ai plus besoin d’eux !”

Par contre, j’aurai toujours besoin de toi. Au moins les petites miettes— que je garde jalousement dans une boite avec mes remords.

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