>>41558445>Alton holds his cup in his hands, the ceramic warm even through the fabric of his gloves. She really was wonderful, far more than he ever could hope after previous heartbreaks. How unfair had he been to her, holding on to the doubts of the past?
I do love you, Rose. And you're right that I struggle with, well, plenty
. It doesn't feel right to me to at least not say what should be said, after all these years it's the least I can do.
>He takes a breath and with a calming sigh slowly releases it.
All this time I never proposed to you. I...was afraid to, actually. After what happened with Judith I couldn't bear the idea of committing to a relationship like that again. I felt like I failed
it, after all it was my fault I terminated it. After that, after everything
, I couldn't surmount the feeling that I tossed away something I wasn't trying hard enough to salvage and in the end to have any sort of relationship like that again was fantasy rubbish.
was rubbish. I didn't trust my own determination over why I left her in the first place. I've been so keen to flagellate myself for perceived sins I blinded myself to how much better
things have been because I keep thinking over 'what if I tried harder?'. What if I put aside everything and tried to make it work? Isn't it terrible that I moved on like this, tearing the family asunder because of my own discomforts? Would I have made a better husband, a better father, if I stayed?
>He frowns when the girl pops into his mind's eye, namely the frame in the empty room with the small girl smiling brightly at the camera with him standing in the frame, with a wan smile that looked so tired.
...Well, perhaps for Valerie I would have. I don't know, I doubt I will ever truly know there. But for Judith, for her? I...never would be me
if I stayed with her. And for her, she I don't believe was herself with me
. She was everything opposite of me, loud and brash and violent
, never content to slow down, never quite listening when I reached out to her...
>Alton shakes his head and tsks out loud, enough to finally draw the attention of the owl perched on the other side of the room. Alton's pet rarely showed interest whenever the man spoke, but either the offered treat or the heavy nature of his words was enough to finally break through his feathery skull.
It's absolute bunk
that I sit so long in regrets of choices I made when ultimately, those choices weren't terrible in hindsight. Things are better
now, better than I ever could dream five years ago. I've been a prat, letting this sit as some insurmountable obelisk, and worse avoiding
talking about it, doing the same ruddy thing I always do when faced with someone personally uncomfortable to confront.
>He finally takes a sip of his tea. It's hot, to be expected, but the summery citrus taste was a welcome reprieve for how dry his mouth became. He swallows thickly and shakes his head, this time a hint of resolution to his tone.
Not anymore. I'm rather sick of doing this, feeling
this, it's all so tiresome.