It felt like an overwhelming warmth, suffocating. It cut like a torn pop can. You tinkered with it and it got worse. They told you to leave it alone, but you didn't listen. That was always the problem, wasn't it? You don't fucking listen.
There is regret coursing through your veins, opalescent spheres that taint the blood. You clench and unclench your hand and, all these years later, you can still feel it. The bones that didn't knit right. Take it back farther. You can feel the impact of the punch. Even further back...you look for anger and find a frightened confusion that makes you feel peeled open.
You hit the fucking guy because he deserved it. That's what you tell yourself. It's not true. At least not completely. It is falser than most everything else, which is half-truth anyway.
There are times in everyones' lives when they have to choose. Often, they choose wrong. More often, there is no way of knowing. You buy your ticket, you take your chance.
From the top of a tall pine, a blue jay sits squawking. He is so far above you. You pick up a pine cone and start tearing it apart. You don't realize you are doing it. You are drowning in the sanguine mind. You don't know what's going to happen. The jay may squall forever. You may never be brave enough to talk to Becky down the street, and that might not even mean anything anyway.
None of it matters. You have told yourself this so many times that you now believe it. It's all slight of hand and bullshit. You groan and your friend is looking down at you, curled on the old thrift store couch. You want him to punch you. You want a hug. You're fucking mixed up. It's like the way that bark strips off a tree. Layers gone, you are down to the meat and there is nothing to do but keep cutting.