At the northwest corner of the big city of Houston, there exists a bridge. A footbridge. Just a narrow, wooden little thing stretching across a bayou, connecting the middle class neighborhood of Greenwood Forest to the middle class neighborhood of Fountainhead.
It might not be inside Houston proper. It might not be at all today.
It existed, I am certain of it, very nearly thirty years ago, when I went there with Shane, but I don’t know anymore.
I try to not think of it. I try to not think of Shane.
Shane is a wife and mother now and a successful historical romance novelist. “Successful” I guess. It looks that way. When I knew her, we were suburban high school kids. Lovers, too. I was just a little boy. Fifteen. Sixteen. Just a little boy.
Thoughts of Shane, they try and come into my head sometimes. When they come, they come in through the right side, above my ear and towards the front. Leaking in all black and sticky. I never look at them. I look away. Down and to the left. I push off.
I’m good at this. Like this: If you start singing “Supper’s Ready,” then thoughts will go away. If singing “Supper’s Ready” fails, you turn on the tv. You call your mom. You say to your mom, “Did you hear what Donald Trump said today?”
If you do this, then the thoughts of Shane and of 1989 and of the footbridge and of all of the rest of it will go away. You don’t have to look at them. You’ll never have to remember.
Because you were awful but you were just a little boy.
I was just a little boy.
I’m different now. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
If Hell exists, then I will spend forever on that footbridge, groveling at the feet of Shane and saying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
♫ Walking across the sitting room, I turn the television off /
Sitting beside you, I look into your eyes ♪…
Hey, did you hear what Donald Trump said today?