Another weeknight. Sparkling personality, biting wit. Feeling like you’ve done this too many times with too many people. Realising you know little about those you call your friends & others, you don’t care. Intimacy is not on the menu tonight. Wondering why across the room looks familiar. Imagine having dinner with jaded memory & realising over appetisers, whose face it’s wearing.

Your last memory has them in this green shirt, reaching for a glass. They seep out of the mind deep-freeze where you keep people, words, your bits you don’t look at anymore. Nostalgia dipped a fondue fork in your blood, smeared it across your plate.

Look to your friend. Cheers! What shall we toast? Turn, shake head. They’re still there. What do you do when you see the person who broke your heart at the next table, cool over cheese fondue?

You can’t hide. Your table is too small. Your plate is too full. You are too big for your skin. You try to wave. But your hands have turned into flowing water. You fear you’ll stammer or burst into tears over that fondue.

Your defenses will crumble the minute they look at you. You will turn into molten lava cake you never order because it’s too messy.  The years you spent becoming a bite sized you, fit for adult company? Gone. 

You’re back to burning. No one to turn the heat down. Nothing to do but let memory dot charred flecks, wreck the war it wages on your ability to chew, erode your tolerance for acid.

The chopsticks click. Noodles or rice? Another survival game-spot the differences. You never ate fondue. The green shirt didn’t have a collar. They didn’t use chopsticks.

Maybe memory is like adolescent poetry, written on overthumbed bits of tissue paper. Wiping runny noses, runaway hearts. Ketchup stains, lipstick smears. Tears.

You reach for the place in you that feels empty each time you think of them. It’s not there. You are not having dinner with nostalgia. Nothing cheesy about the present. Life, one spoon at a time. Cheese fondue in time too.

When you look up, the table next to you is empty.

🎶: GOING UNDER-Evanescence

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