My feet walk forward in the opposite direction, a habit I can’t seem to undo. It’s a trust-fall off a cliff with no parachute or any crowd to catch me. A dance for ten, performed by one, to a tempo swinging me between lies too untrue. What do I find in a timeline I’ve promised to never see?

Inspection becomes intrusion, and I break my heart for free. I carry souvenirs of anyone’s pain made available for purchase, and cherish them as if I’ve always been in their shoes. Despite the bandages and cauterized wounds, what taught them to grin with such immovable glee? How do you splice that frown, flip it upside down, and mindlessly show your bruises?

My basket is filled to the brim of memories that aren’t mine. To drown in a catharsis too personal is an understatement, for I feel for them beyond what is reasonably understandable. I confuse these already burned red flags for horrifying omens and bad signs. Why do I inhale this dusty past as if I were a false character in their little parables?

Perhaps I’ve compensated with sleeping in histories, wishing I were there to help them make things right. But the truth is that it is not my job to conjure happiness in the loneliest part of their lives. It’s fair to call it a saviour complex, granted I’d die for the people I love with a good fight. It’s also fair that I should understand that this is not my deep dive.

My fondness of exploration also seeks the dark side of everyone’s moons. Empathy suddenly withers into a repeated mistake, and I grind the shards of my optimism to a pulp. I have forgotten to take care of myself, years too late, days too soon. Their calls with the void were not mine, and yet I just happen to recklessly jump.

I have been silently watching people fall, but only now do I see that I have fallen with them into an abyss we crawl out together. Heroism becomes damaging hubris — a tragic kind of solidarity never discussed. There’s nothing healthy about viewing myself as someone’s torch, when I am merely an ambitious ember. I have overflowed my cup of faith, pouring all of it onto trust.

Perhaps I’ve merely longed for a day in someone’s mind, but I ended up stirring toxins in my own heart.

It’s comforting that I’ve made peace with what troubled my mind, and this time, giving credit where it’s due — to those people I’ve always loved. I was never alone because I chose to ride and die, and that has made more than a difference, no matter how late I’ve realized it. Heaven is in the little moments when we try a little too hard to cry, not when we plead to the disembodied voices too high above. I can’t pinpoint my regrets because they were simply on my hands — gloves with perfect fit.

Looking at the pocket watch that I once flailed like a weapon, I now see peace inside. The gears move silently, and its ticking lulls me.

I’d rather face what I’ve always pushed aside, and live with a smile without saying sorry.

lost is found.