I lost track of time. The lights had not changed, but the traffic pattern had. There were few people wandering around the airport, and I could tell they were the closet insomniacs. Too restless to sit, worried about missed appointments, missed opportunities to impress someone. I was sitting with my good friend Collie, who had hardly spoken since I began my story. He was very attentive, and didn’t look tired at all. I asked him if he wanted to sleep, call his people, wander somewhere for a quick smoke or a sandwich, but he shook his head. His eyes were wide and thoughtful. He was the kind of student a teacher would hope for. I saw my story reflected in his eyes, all the sadness and hope and yearnings that were never filled. I wanted to tell him that it was different for everybody; everyone has that one that got away, except sometimes they don’t get away. With me, it was time and taboo, desire and fear. I wanted Ruth with everything that was in me; it wasn’t just physical desire, it was a union of the hearts. I knew she felt the same for me, but the time… the goddamn logistics… didn’t work in our favor. We thought we had all the time to sort through the details, work out a plan for when we were older and more confident. I was sure, and I think she was sure, but we were never sure together. Time, mottled by fear, took our courage from us.
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