What if I hadn’t gone to that wedding, and humoured the best man, who I found repulsive and stepped on my toes. He had been ‘recovering from something’ and I had to dance with him, being the maid of honour. I kept my face away from him, and dropped his hands like a stone once the song was over. He found solace in the sister in law and I was saved from his advances. Sometimes when you find someone so unappealing it’s like a foul odour you want to waft away. All at once we can find people either repellent or intoxicating.
What If when I got back home from that trip, I hadn’t contracted swine flu; the flu that meant I was unable to keep anything down, or move my limbs much, or keep my eyes open, or do anything but sleep in a weak and delirious stupor.
What if I hadn’t been shivering to the point where I felt like my body was made of ice and all the heat in the world wouldn’t thaw me out.
As a consequence I crawled with my blanket to be by the fire to warm my chilled flesh on the hot coals emitting a soothing heat, pinching the duvet under my chin to comfort myself, switching the television on in that moment, to pass the time.
I could have crawled back to bed, but I didn’t. I could have laid down but I didn’t. I could have continued to watch the flames lick the logs but instead I chose to watch that particular channel. And at that very moment, that show flickered across the monitor.
Within the first 30 seconds, you appeared.
What if I had never laid eyes on you?
You filling up my screen with your presence, being so witty and attractive. Me being utterly mesmerized and not being able to take my eyes off you. I wanted you the moment I saw you. Without for a second contemplating that it would or could ever happen. But I did meet you. And I did touch your face and I did witness your stormy eyes firsthand.
The sound of you messaging, like cocaine for the soul. Any mention of you. Seeing your name emblazoned on my phone screen.
Maybe if I was stronger I could handle the pain. The kind of pain that feels like splinters in your stomach, waking you up with a kick in the early morning hours. Once again the realization that you are not next to me.
What if I could stop sobbing over the thing that I never had in the first place? Because I never had you. The deep throaty sobs that catch in my windpipe and leave me exhausted, my eyes burning.
What would be different?
Would I have had another heartache? Would there be nobody crushing my paper heart in their palm?
Would there be someone else enveloping me in their arms and telling me it’s going to be okay? Or would I have been alone, none the wiser, sitting by the fire and watching something else entirely.
I wonder; what if I hadn’t fallen for you?
I feel crushed.