arrogance of a guilty conscience
by dana quell

today is her anniversary.

today is her anniversary, but where is she? "not here, not here," you say, little voice in my head and near obsolete technology by today's standards.

"i'm here," i reply, frustration that you would break into my thoughts leaking arrogance into my rage.

she was short-lived. 1995, no more. i will remember no more, and i don't want to remember. you shout, and i don't care anymore, can't care, and it's gone, as if it were a dream or nightmare that passed subtely through my subconscious.

"i'm here. i'm here, but why? he lead me here, ghost or dream or half forgotten past. whatever it is, i'm here."

"and what if he never lead you here? what if you never followed him to that church, the same church you sat in six years ago, where you kneeled in that same pew and had your epiphany, the epiphany, and could no longer know what you had believed in before? where would you be then?" a smile flits through your imagined voice and you continue, "not here."

"not here," i mimic, sad as a songbird who's lost a wing, and i don't care anymore, and you're gone as if you were just another cloud in a clear blue sky. "not here, not here, not here, not here." and then no more.

all of our lives are short-lived and our loves shorter sill. "if we're lucky..." lingers like a canker sore on my lips. him? he couldn't remember his own wife's name when, a hundred years from now, he goes to look her up. "if we're lucky, life lasts only as long as love."

and a hundred years from now, who will be on everybody's dashboard?

i reread myself and i realise i am not an original; i am only at best a copy cat killer, repeating words as if i were a parrot begging for a cracker.

but ah, i've forgotten. crackers don't matter. well, thanks for sharing.

his car pulls up into the parking lot, her on the dashboard now, and he gets out, walks stiffly over to the door and vanishes into my mind like all the others; he had to care and now it's all going to hell.

and still the hardest part...

and she was even shorter lived. 1995. and what was it then, but cancer, her cells killing her even while she herself wanted to live... until november, when her own daughter was too afraid to even look at her, much less kiss her goodbye.

"there's no one left in the world. there's only you," he said.

"i really need to leave now," replying, i turned, flew from him and into the sky to find my own cure. "we've been undone. i need to leave."

he muttered after my shadow when it, too, left, and, "still, the hardest part..."

he had cared and now it's all going to hell.

i am, perhaps, his only connection to her around, but i don't care anymore, can't care because you, whisperer, are gone. i never said goodbye, and you fed my remorse with your cholesterol filled words until it mutated into guilt. i never said goodbye, and now you are gone.

i never said goodbye, but she was short-lived. she is gone.

"not here," i reply, sad as a songbird.

today is her anniversary.