i often remember that night we walked through the forest. blind and stumbling. we tripped over sticks and stones and stumps. we tumbled along a dark path; lights from nearby homes & the faraway moon dimly crept among the trees. 

it seems like we've spent most of our time together in the woods. in the darkness, on an unkempt path, twisting our ankles on unseen obstacles. 

i watch this moment over and over, setting us in different times of day & night, at dawn & dusk. And sometimes there are birds, lots of birds, yelling at me a cacophony of warnings: please, turn back.

and each time i replay the scene, it seems more obvious it was always a mistake. never should have taken those timid first steps. 

now the protagonist of this memory doesn't know what to do. i have the knowledge she couldn't have possibly seen--and despite the obvious warnings from the birds, it's still too tempting. the loam smells clean. the pregnant possibilities seem promising. Seem.

her partner stands frozen beside her. she stares at him with knotted eyebrows like she's trying to figure out the puzzle. she's trying to decode the pictographs, exaggerated by shadows,  carved into his features. 

i guess she'll never know how deceptively perfect it was. in the moment, it seemed, they could be shoulder-to-shoulder forever. she'll never know better. but i do.

he doesn't actually think you're beautiful, or sexy, or lovely, or interesting. they're lies. i don't know whether or not she could be convinced of that. she'd have to find out for herself. but i don't let her plow forward into the decaying quagmire of a once too-good-to-be-true promise. she can stay there, staring a his face made morbid by the moonlight, half-believing she's "in love." 

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