Shane often wondered what his life would have been like if Ava had fallen for him and not Frankie. He’d probably never have left
He didn’t know why he’d gone to
No, there was no “Shane and Ava,” no kids, no life in
He thought about the other him a lot: the man he would have been if Ava had picked him over Frankie. He felt he’d have been a better man, more complete. He’d have been brighter, shinier, sparkier. Better.
He’d stayed in San Francisco for lots of good reasons and also because by then he’d figured out that there was no point in traveling any further trying to outrun himself, there no place outside him that was going to fix what was inside him.
He got so angry sometimes he wanted to break something. Got into such a rage on occasion he pictured himself hurting Ava. She’d chosen Frankie and crushed him and sometimes, so help him, he thought she should pay for that. More than slapping her, though, he thought about making love to her. In his dreams, waking and sleeping, they made love so beautiful it was holy.
Sometimes he thought Ava must feel him making love to her, sense him touching her soft skin, breathing-in her sweet milky smell, tasting the salt and sugar of her. He remembered. Sometime, sometimes, when he closed his eyes and waited just so, he could hear her calling him all the way across the ocean, a sound that started off faint as church whispers and climbed to the keening of mourners, a sound that made his heart bleed.
The hurt and pain and regret and anger and love had all diminished over time, of course, but it wasn’t gone. He didn’t think it would ever be gone.
Bio: Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Ethel Rohan now lives in San Francisco. She received her MFA in fiction from Mills College, CA. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from over twenty online and print journals including Cantaraville; Word Riot; Identity Theory; mud luscious; and Prick Of The Spindle. She is a brazen chocoholic. Her blog is www.straightfromtheheartinmyhip.blogspot.com.
Motivation: As an immigrant I know what it is to be torn, to wonder at the life and loved ones we left behind. I have two hearts, the heart that loves my current home and the heart that loves my home of origin. I know regret.
Photo: Fabio Pereira