it's already gone don't even ask

do you ever think robert lies awake at night, thinking about what he’s done, unable to escape the guilt now that there’s just silence in his ears. does he go back to that day in february, where everything started to spiral, where his tight hold of all those lies began to loosen and slip from between his fingers?

he can probably still smell the dust and old wood up his nostrils, feel the floorboards creaking under the weight of his polished shoes, hear katie’s voice and see her smug smile and then…

i wonder if on those nights he turns to face aaron in their bed, wishing he could wake him and talk through it all, untangle all the knotted memories in his head, but he knows he can’t because he can’t drag aaron back there, not when it almost destroyed him the first time

so what does he do instead? does he just lie there and let himself remember? the moment he pushed katie back, the panic which had swelled inside him because she couldn’t be allowed to leave, and then the paralysing denial which followed when suddenly katie was gone, disappeared through the broken floor, dead.

does he hear her scream when he closes his eyes? see her vacant eyes staring up at him? how does he get back to sleep when he’s got that nightmare playing on a loop?

maybe he just repeats the mantra in his head, the one that’s stopped him going insane thus far

it was an accident… it was an accident… it was an accident…

and maybe he presses his thumb against the bullet wound, till it starts to hurt, and he thinks that he’s been punished already, almost killed for what he did to her, and so he shouldn’t feel guilty now

but he does, and it scares him that he was once so lost in all that fear and anger that he actually did something so terrible. and maybe, in the darkness, and with aaron sleeping softly next to him, he wonders whether he’s managed to put enough distance between then and now, whether he’s done enough good to erase all the bad, whether he’s really escaped that version of himself which continues to haunt him now

i’m not a monster, he thinks, but there’s still a part of him that doubts