Tuesday, September 01, 2009

they never change

They don't change, she tells him, they never change. Says it like she knows such things. Says it like she's talking about others but her tone has shifted and he knows who she is really talking about.


Sometimes they do, he says as the hint of a hopeful smile plays with his lips. Sometimes they change. Sometimes?


She looks at him then and shakes her head, looking back into the distance, perhaps into the past or a future never lived. That shake of her head, he's seen it countless times. He's seen it in the good times when her face is squinted shut with laughter, and he's seen it in the grey times when there didn't seem to be any way out.


He wants to believe she is wrong, but as they sit in the fading light of another dying day he suspects she might be right. They promise change, swear they'll change, beg for one more chance because they know they can change.


Again.


And again.


And again.


But then he thinks of a small boy he once knew. The quietest boy, he grew into a quiet young man, his confidence a crippling burden. The others didn't know about the humour. The thoughts and quirky observations formed in his mind but were trapped there because he was afraid. What if they didn't unberstand? What if they didn't laugh or laughed in the wrong way? What if he made a fool of himself? So he remained silent, like a fool.


He thinks about that quiet young boy and the quiet young man. He thinks about now, and he knows she is wrong: sometimes they do change. He turns to her to tell her this, but faintly, ever so faintly, she is shaking her head.


His gentle smile of hope softly dies as he sits beside her and gazes into the distance, into the past or a future never lived. He doesn't say anything.


Perhaps she is right after all.