She'd try to make excuses but I knew it was more than wondering what to have for dinner or looking at the sky.   You're lying, Alice. Spill it.   And she would. I always knew when something awful was chasing itself round and round in her brain; she was quiet about it but to me it was always an audible signal. It amazed her and worried me. It happened so often.

(I've seen movies, I should have known what was going to happen. The lovers who think they will always be lovers - they're the ones who earn the cruel ironic twists, that's how it happens. The other half of it is that they never see it coming. They are left bruised and baffled. I played it well, I took no convincing.)

I got smug. I knew she was troubled and I would offer my hands, a backrub, a cup of tea, my shoulder, my lips, my silence, whatever fit the moment. I thought that would answer it. But you know what happened. I became her bad thoughts. And I did not know it. I had gotten through one layer of mystery and I could not imagine she was hiding anything else. I will forgive myself many things but I can't get past the cruel error of thinking she was so shallow, so flat. I was not looking up; she was flying, she was already so far away, she was gone.