“Damn! This is painful.”, he thought as he tried to keep her thoughts at bay that moment. It was a constant struggle, every waking hour of every single day. Especially when it was so easy to immerse his self in the sea of memories they’d made together- their first kiss, their second kiss, holding her close, making love. Each of them brilliant, each so much fun! Them sneaking off to steal a kiss when their friends were in the other room, her holding him close when she knew no one was looking, them both waiting for the other to ask for an evening of wine, her tantalizing glances that drove him mad! Mesmerizing, pure moments. They put him in their spell each time he thought of them, and he could smile. On what there was. On what could have been.

As someone who believed in science more than on himself, he knew that dwelling in could haves is as stupid as it could get. But the writer in him compelled him to look that way, pick up the pieces from before when they left off to create his own worlds. There, each of his could haves had its own space. Each narrative different storyline. A new world, where the outside didn’t matter, he would fill them in with colors, detail it with the things they used to love. It would be their world, custom to their likings, their demands, their dreams. He would off to play football each evening, and not be injured. She would dance her way into the world, and no one could have anything to say. And they’d be together every night. Oh, and there would be stars. Twinkling, playfully announcing that they are real. As real as the two of them.

Playing with memories wasn’t bad, what hurt was snapping out of them. Looking at everyone go around hand in hand, knowing that they were meant to do that. Knowing that somewhere, she might be thinking the same thing. Knowing that somewhere, she might be with someone, thinking of him. Him not realizing when their expiration date came.

He’d kept his indulgences at bay for sometime now- they flooded in the memories. Indulgences solidified them and placed them in front of his eyes. Then he couldn’t help reaching out to the phone and message her, call her- ask her if she missed him as the same way he did- something he always regretted the next morning. But today, as he was finishing up the almost empty bottle of scotch, he felt so much more in control. “Brilliant! I’ll probably go and get another half, the night is still young. Hell, I feel fine, I can switch on my phone again, will not call her!”. Maybe he felt like giving himself a treat for being sober for so long. For not giving into his memories. For standing up.

He wasn’t even finished with racing his car to the fourth gear when the phone rang. He looked down to see who could it have been when a screeching horn brought him back to the world.