Cognitive Dissonance

I have to apologize.

I look at you, and I see what could have been. Like a double exposure, I can see another life meld itself over yours. I see familiar eyes dim in confusion; the brows furrowed in agitation. I hear your confabulations – evidence of a once-sharp mind trying to piece together fractured memories – and I hear them spoken in another voice. I feel sad that once-strong hands now tremble, that once-steady legs now barely support your weight, because I knew similar hands and feet.

I’m ashamed to feel that you chose, to a small degree, this result for yourself. I saw so many
similar consequences play out for someone else.

I have to apologize.

You remind me of someone I once knew. Someone I think might have become you, given alternate consequences for choices made. And my heart breaks – for you, and for me. Because I wish I could see them one more time, but instead I am here with you. The thing is, I’m afraid that they may have become you. We would have been like we two are now: me sitting on your hospital bed, and you in your chair as we both try to move forward together into a new normal. I’m sorry if sometimes I look a little too closely, or if I look away a little too quickly. I’m sorry if my smile seems a little sad, or my touch a little uncertain.

It’s just that you remind me of someone I used to know. You remind me of who they might have been.

And I’m so glad they were never you.

MED '21
Issues: Volume 7, Volume 8

Leslie Denson, UUSOM '21 spends most of her time as an apprentice healer and full-time dreamer. She also enjoys books, music, food, naps, cats and is an unrepentantly avid lover of puns."

Rubor Participation:
2020 prose, "Focus on the Numbers"
2020 prose, "Shoes", web edition
2020 prose, "Pre-Rounding", web edition
Prose Content Editor, 2019