If no one ever hears the stories again, did they really happen?
I drive the roads, late at night, no sun, barely any moon, the sidewalks empty and the streets barely disturbed by intermittent passing cars, and I remember. I remember all the losses, all the failures, all the people, all the women, all the deeds…
I remember. And in the memories, I am the hero. In the histories, I suppose I am less then.
In the tiny hours, I’ve already dropped her home and started on my journey home, alone, and she calls me, locked out of her apartment. I do the right thing: I pay the toll again, pick her up, pay it again, take her to my friends’ apartment to stay–
Does she remember? Does she care? Does it matter? I whisper those questions to myself every time I cross that bridge at an ungodly hour. Did it even happen? Is this a memory or just a made up fiction of my mind?
Nearing 4am, hearkening the crack of dawn, walking a dog around Brooklyn, picking up poop and emptying the detritus of a debauched party–
Does she remember? Does she care? Does it matter? I ask myself that question aloud as I drive down St. Marks and avoid the bump in the road between Carlton and Vanderbilt, an absent-minded twist of my wheel, as I’ve done this so many times over that I need not even glance at it…
These streets, these boroughs, these restaurants, this pavement, this life, my life, in this city of mine has been hijacked by memories and ghosts and in the tiny hours, as the clock ticks past one to two and settles into that hazy divot between three and four, I lose track of where I am, of when I am, of who I am.
Do they remember? Have I faded into the dark? If so, did it really happen and does it matter anymore? I doubt myself, I doubt my gloved hands that grip my steering wheel, I doubt the music in the background, I doubt the very existence of me.
If no one ever says the stories aloud again, if they remain trapped only in my untrustworthy memory, if no one else remembers or cares or–
Did it matter? Did I? Does any of this?
And so, I keep driving.