Many years ago...
"I love you," she says. "I love you and I forgive you."
"Forgive? You don't know what I've done."
"Yes," she says. "And yet..."
And she holds me. Softly.
The sun is long gone, but the heat of the day remains. No relief, here in this center of the world. Up and down the stairs we go, echoing and laughing; or not laughing. The echoes die out and so do we. What are we looking for?
What am I looking for? Maybe I found it already--twenty years ago. And I just laughed and moved along, leaving her there to cry and watch as I faded away.
"I forgive you," she says.
Walking the streets at two o'clock in the morning. People pass by, coming within an inch of touching me. Lovers, holding hands, each scared of catching the other's eye. They look at me instead, and they wonder why I am alone.
I keep walking before they can ask.
Back to my room--this hot, cursed, empty room. The smell of contemptible cigarettes, burned in haste, ashamed. Sleep-sweat and rustling paper. No joy here, no brotherhood. Only the everlasting heat and quiet resentment.
I can survive this. I can make it through. Just give me a reason.
Please. I just need a reason.
If she were here, I would ask for her forgiveness. For everything. For nothing.