She was sitting there clumsily in big shoes like the rehearsal for a life unlived. Face attacked me with a wall of silence, warmth disappeared like ether. I fell back. The only thing between us now was resentment. I tried to pick her up but my will faltered, her slim heels slipped and scratched the floor. To this day I can blame gravity for my own ineptitude, my own cowardice. It occurred to me then and I gave way. Looking back, I think to myself: you always knew it would end badly. But you never knew about this. About the softness of her blur-blue eyes as she looked up at me; the cold reasoning always bubbling beneath her surface; and the one slim chance we had ever had solidified into one slim moment of vulnerability. Why I did what I did, and the inescapable question of the outcome, both for us and for the world we have created in our minds. It had to be more than wishful thinking, but it was always less than firm ground to stand on. We both knew it, but she was young, and blonde, and pretty, and I must have been something myself. We declared everything while holding back anything, and in the end we cheated only ourselves.