You Simply Want to Prove Her Wrong
A. C. Peterson

It's wearing the skin of the woman I once loved.

This thing poised with her overstuffed fingers incessantly stirring the coffee--the spoon ringing with every scrape, with every stir--could not be my Violet. That sour hyena cackle could never fall from her delicate lips. Those meaty palms hitting the table, slapping to indicate the punchline, could not be the same hands I once kissed between breaths on palms and on wrists, uttering devotion and muttering words like, “forever,” as headlights became candlelight in the minivan sanctuary of my Romeo, her Juliet, and the needle on E.

She slides from the vinyl booth seat, thighs squeaking. This body, worn from a life still in a hometown without promise, in a life with the first boy that asked, with lines where no lines would ever score my Violet, could never be the same girl I held 12 years ago, whispering, wanting, and promising everything as we stared at stars and cursed fate and her father (synonymous concepts at the time). This face, sweating, glowing and certainly not the haunted angel of adolescent daydreams, hovers about me.

“Victor, is that you?” This could not be my Violet. I would rather have her dead.

“I'm sorry?”

I am, I am sorry. I am sorry that I didn't take her with me. I am sorry that I couldn't make her whole again, new again, good again. I am so sorry.

“Oh, I thought you were someone.”

Looks can be deceiving. I thought I was someone, too.

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