It was a full moon.
Always a full moon.
She whispered the story to me between labored breaths as I held her wrinkled hand. The window was cracked open, ready for her soul to depart, but she could not have peace. Not yet. Not if it meant her secrets died with her.
Moonlight. Night air.
The haunted hotel.
The cat that hissed at her as she walked past.
When he said, “I just need to fuck you,” it was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her.
She wanted to leave, to experience love on her own terms, not his. Instead, she did what he asked. She did not want to lose him. He instructed her. Constructed her. Taught her how to move, what to say. A world away.
It was painful.
But she loved him.
She still loved him.
He had been famous. Powerful. Brilliant.
She was not.
But she could bask in his glow, couldn’t she?
So she did.
He made her feel transparent with his eyes, his words, his hands.
Then, love could not cover up the pain. Not anymore. The bruises were real, even if she was not.
She stopped. But it wasn’t the end. Not even hardly.
Here on her deathbed, alone among the tubes and wires so many lifetimes later, she told me her one regret:
That her heart still cried out his name.