We’ve all had moments in our lives we wish we could back and change. A simple word, a careless action; usually something much more complex and painful. Often there are entire segments of our lives we desire to simply erase, to hit the reset button, to undo something we did, whether purposefully or accidental.
But we cannot. Despite all our technologies, all our advancements, time will only move forward for us. Yet our memories can dwell infinitely in the past, reliving those moments of pain, embarrassment, humiliation, holding us eternally bound to that moment in time without hope of escape. We alone prevent ourselves from breaking free of these self-imposed prisons and learning from those moments, growing from those opportunities, with the hope to not make those same mistakes twice, to not allow history to repeat itself.
I’m haunted by such moments …
PATOR V (Vakir)
REPUBLIC FLEET LOGISTIC SUPPORT
I was crossing a few city blocks within the station as quickly as I could along the pedestrian walkway; I was going to miss the next (and last) express magtrain to the outer station ring if I didn’t hurry, and I had an appointment there I intended to keep; a very important meeting.
As I traversed a vehicle laneway on the appropriate signal, and had almost made it across to the next pedestrian walkway, a large vehicle diverted suddenly from its path, and would’ve hit me had I not reactively jumped out of the way. I landed on the ferrocrete, hard on one knee, my hands scraped, but otherwise intact. I heard the vehicle come to a quick halt several meters behind me, and wondered if an accident had occurred; if the driver and other motorists were injured. My mind always tried to rationalize answers of irrational situations.
I rose slowly, doing an internal body check to make sure I was intact. As I turned I could hear shouting, someone yelling my name, which I found odd. When I had fully turned to analyze the situation, a large Caldari grabbed my jacket lapel with his left hand, clenching his right hand into a balled fist cocked high above and behind him.
“I always hoped I’d run into you again.” he barked. “You ruined her. You completely destroyed her life.”
I had no idea who he was, only that he was a potential threat. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking Roc, this guy has you by the coat and is about to punch you a good one, and you’re saying he’s just a potential threat? Are you kidding me? Stop pretending you’re such a badass. I’m not pretending. Most males are all about posturing. They want to feel big, look important, sound tough; they rarely know how to follow through. It’s our alpha instincts.
“Who?” I asked calmly.
“You don’t even know?!” he screamed incredulously. “You don’t even recognize me? I was the guy who tried to clean up Daena’s life after you were done with her; tried to put the pieces of her heart back together, to mend her soul. You completely emptied her, left her a shell of the woman she was! I’m going to mop the street with you!”
In the twinkling of an eye, it all came back to me. Daena.
“Here you go, darlin.” I said, handing the contraceptive device to the young, hot brunette standing in front of me. “We’re trying to promote sexual awareness in your university. You’re a looker, so you might need a few extras.” I winked and handed her some more. She didn’t blush. She didn’t look away. She held my gaze with those smoldering brown eyes, and I knew this was a woman I could see myself spending many years with.
A few hours later, we engaged in some oral foreplay in a nearby university washroom. She was incredible. Even looking down on her from this angle as she knelt, gently moving her long flowing brown hair out of the way, she was beautiful, energetic, exhilarating and eager.
I couldn’t believe I had been involved with the same woman exclusively for five months. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy her, I did; perhaps too much. I could feel my heart starting to slip away. After Mihan’s death, I had promised to never genuinely love again. I owed Mihan that much. So instead of letting our relationship flourish, Daena and I fought almost constantly, over the stupidest things, and almost always it was my stubbornness, my ego that started the arguments, and ended them. In retrospect I came to understand that it was less about honouring Mihan, and more about not allowing my heart to be vulnerable.
Five years we’d been at this: Caring for each other, being with each other, fighting with each other, hating each other, making up with each other, multiple times. There was some unexplainable chemistry between us, some insatiable lust that kept us coming back for more. Or was it something else? Was it co-dependency? Did broken attract broken? Or did we break each other along the way? Or was that just me rationalizing the way I treated her? I certainly didn’t feel broken, just miserable.
“I don’t really care. It’s over.” I said without a single hint of emotion in my voice.
She stood before me, crying, but I had grown cold to her tears long ago. “But I only told you so you would forgive me, so we could have a clean start!” she sobbed.
She had just told me that she had been cheating on me for the last year with several partners, her way of retaliating for all the horrible and malicious things I had done to her, of which there were many. But she had seen me not stay stuck in my ways. She had witnessed first hand as I had learned from my mistakes and grown into a better man. She wanted to be a better woman. She wanted to give us a better relationship.
We had broken up. We had gotten back together. We did that for another year until she ended it. She held the power then. She was the alpha. I furnished a small apartment for her, helped her financially where it was needed, and was always there for her when she needed to talk. She had started dating someone from school she had known before that day she met me, and I looked her up once out of curiousity, only to discover they had married. Well, good for her. At least she had stopped calling me, torturing me in retaliation for the years of her life I had wasted.
A few years later, while serving in the Tribal Liberation Force, I looked her up again. Maybe I still held unresolved emotions? Perhaps I needed closure? She had divorced, moved on, and had become pregnant with someone else’s child.
That was the last time I looked her up. Apparently closure was only something needed in romantic comedy holoreels.
“Daena.” I said quietly, though he failed to hear the sadness and regret in my voice.
“Yes!” he screamed, and I knew he was going to punch me then.
A part of me deep inside believed I deserved it, believed I deserved whatever punishment came my way for the mistakes I made with Daena. Another part of me cried out in protest, reminding me of the man I had grown into, of all the good I had achieved in this universe, of all the lives I had made better through my words and actions. A third part of me merely shot adrenaline through my body, and urged me to survive.
An unskilled opponent reveals themselves in many ways: the way they pull back, winding up for the punch, incorrect stance and feet positioning, leaving them off balance. Still, anyone can get lucky, so best not to give your opponent the chance.
I stepped forward into him, driving my knee into his groin. My momentum, combined with him pulling back his fist, carried him to the ferrocrete, where he landed hard on his ass, clutching himself and wincing.
I leaned over him, but not close enough for him to lash out at me.
“I’m honestly sorry. More than you’ll ever know, friend.”
With that, I stood up and walked away, checking my chrono.
I still had time to catch my train.