You were meant to be so much more, weren’t you? What was meant to be, what could have been, how these useless anxieties run through your mind relentlessly, producing nothing but angst and that gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach. The coffee I grabbed at the corner shop is bitter and I’ve added too much sugar so now I’m drinking it purely for the caffeinated rush as the flavor has gone to absolute shit. In this part of town there is a river which runs through the center, churning silver as coins as it flows swiftly by. There is a black swan on the shore, motionless in the cold spiced air, watching with her blindfold eyes as the frigid water laps at the riverbank below an upscale restaurant which won’t open up until five. How many times you and I walked this path tucked up against the water, drinking wine all afternoon, entering the sex shop where I am too shy and the plastic packaging of cheap collars and corsets and naughty instruments makes me cringe and want to cry. All the world is plastic please don’t make me plastic, too. We pass the second hand shop which is always piled up with dolls, the one with red lettering and fogged windows, doll parts, legs, arms, torsos, chopped off hair, tiny plastic girls naked with painted on Mary Janes, scratched out white cracked eyes. Pulling me away from the street and against the rails which line the river, you kiss me so fully it’s as if you intend to erase me from existence and I breathe you in deeply because I want nothing more than to disappear. You in brown boots and me in black tights, dreaming of a life that would never come to pass. Life has a way of winding up mountains you didn’t see coming through the veil of ignorance, or innocence. You think what happened to them won’t happen to you but humans are in so many ways predictable, they get frightened easily and they close, and they close, and they close until their entire lives are barely a squinting slit of panicked attention. The sky is gray overhead as it has been for weeks and though others are quick to complain about the gloomy weather, I pity their shallow understanding of the universe, their blind worship of an empty light which is so much colder than any shadow, and revel in the darkness of the shorter days, of my clipped and pressed together heart. Some people are just better than others and though they try to tell you we are all the same it isn’t true. Some people try harder to fit in, to stand out. As I pass by the little French bakery which always smells of freshly baked breads, I light a cigarette and pull my wool hat down lower over my ears. Swallowing the last of my terrible coffee, I glance up toward an old house I have passed a hundred times but only now notice its haunted appearance, worn down faded shutters and majestic crooked towers pointing like bony fingers into the clouded sky. As I make my way back up Main Street to the place from where I began, a dog barks at a swirling cyclone of leaves in a far off lot. The black swan at the water’s edge spreads her phenomenal wings and takes flight in silence. And the day bows down heavy, the metallic sadness of steel armor in my chest.