THE WELLS OF LONELINESS | C A Cole I remember the past; I don’t live in it. Saying you live in the past because you remember it is like saying you think you’re in a movie because you remember the plot. Remembering an evening when I was a fey thing with a swan neck, not yet attuned to nuance, feet not planted on terra firma, does not mean I want to be that starry-eyed child. It doesn’t mean I want to be in love like that again. If that was love. Because what is love? How does it exponentially grow from a feeling like liquid in a juice glass to enough wine to fill a barrel? How does it inflame and increase and become a fluid that can ignite? Or shrivel and dehydrate, to be reconstituted on a later day. If it does. If it can. That crystallized fear remains—he might not remember. If he does, is his memory like mine, like emerald refractions of moody light, drifting under the surface of a mossy lake? Would green shoots be a more apt description of young love than diamond rays? Wouldn’t the world be a lovelier place awash in emerald air? Could first love be ruby? Or crimson. Isn’t crimson sexual? To him wouldn’t the world be ruby-throated, red enough to blind? Or is love blue? Sapphire, an azure tinge saturating the world, softening edges, cerulean brushed over every arm, every leg and belly, forbidden to all but the beloved? But the alternate meaning; unhappiness, the boundaries of depression, the wells of loneliness. Is that the hue he sees when he remembers me? Not quite a black hole, place of nothingness, reeling in life, extracting souls. These many years later, I wish for his completeness rather than tatters, although some vestige of my former self wants that, too, because didn’t he leave me in shreds? My pasts are tinted, my present a field of gray.