I imagine myself on that night, the longest night, in the place where I am forbidden to go (and yet, where a part of me lives always). I can’t see yet how you will die this time, so for now I only imagine you spread out on the soft carpet, blood on your lips, your chest laboring for each breath. I don’t want him to be angry at either of us (though anger is part and parcel of his love, isn’t it), but I reach for your hand anyway and hold it in both of mine. Your fingers spasm tight and between clenched teeth you utter a choked laugh. “You think you’d get used to the pain,” you say, “but you don’t.” I nod. I can’t share your pain, though I long to sometimes. All I can do is sit here beside you and listen to the liquid filling up your lungs, feel you shuddering with the struggle to hold on just a little longer. “Every time,” you say, “is like the first time. Over and over. Over and over.” Your watery eyes roll my direction, knocking loose the tears gathered on your long lashes. Beneath the blood, your smile is immensely sad. “I’m sorry,” you say. “We’re not good at this. No matter how many times… we don’t learn. It all resets.” Your grip tightens; your words grow desperate. “Do you understand? It all resets. Him. Me. Us. You. That’s why we don’t… why we never… Do you understand?” I don’t, not quite, not yet, but I don’t want to tell you that. Instead I nod, caress your trembling hand. Murmur small comforts. You laugh again, a haunting, haunted sound, and close your eyes.

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