There were no new faces; all the names and dreams he’d remembered from countless other hells were melted back into a single face. A single face that knew him, above all others, in ways he would not admit.
Something in him lay more dead than he could comprehend — all other deaths before, every single time he knew his heart to be stone proved wrong; this was the worst it had been, the worst it could be.
And yet he knew there was more to come.
It would be weeks before he found the note and months after that until he realized the bottle would not kill him, no matter how hard he tried.
It wasn’t that they’d parted on bad terms. That morning was like any other. It wasn’t that he never got a chance to tell her what he felt. She had always known. It wasn’t a matter of unfinished business in the case of his job or their strange relationship. They both knew what could happen, and lived their lives the way they chose.
It was that he’d wake up screaming, the taste of blood in the back of his throat, the scent of her cigarettes, the stupid fucking fuzzy dice she hung from the mirror because he hated them, and every single tattoo he admired and the way she was the first one, after Marie walked away — she was the first one he loved.
There wasn’t enough blame in the world for him to lay beneath.