he said (and i didn’t)

he looked at me. smiled. said, “You look ten years younger.”
i should have said, “That’s the glow of self-delusion.”

oh the things, all the things i could have, should have said.

but the moment passes by…
not because such moments go fast.
oh no.
such moments replay like sport in the mind.
and all the pithy, clever things
one could have said, should have said,
coalesce later,
after one has watched and heard the replays,
once seething turns to simmer.

once the inventory of such moments resurfaces,
with this moment added to the ledger,
all those moments demanding to be seen again,
heard again, all the things you could have said,
should have said but didn’t.

it’s habit, really, this dance in one’s head.
it’s a careful habit, to suppress realism in favor of hope.
such moments come along, however much you wish they wouldn’t.

he said, “You look ten years younger.”
i should have said, “That’s the glow of self-delusion.”

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