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leftover pasta and homemade sauce

Main Ingredients:
fellow student

Spice Pack:
1 whisper of remorse
1/3 smidge of torment
1/2 teaspoon of regret
1/8 tablespoon of worry

3 years ago today.
3 years.
you've both been studying in the library - something forgettable, unimportant: a quiz in chem -- or maybe physics. she is quieter than usual but you attribute it to the gloomy rain and upcoming coursework. she hasn't brought any of her textbooks.
you invite her over for dinner at your place - a dinner she politely refuses, but you insist. when she finally agrees, it is without enthusiasm.
you leave the library pretty late, to a pretty empty street.
a banker with a black umbrella, exiting glass doors
a tall woman and her kid, splashing in a puddle
a brown van parked in the fire lane
you walk back in silence.
dinner is a humble affair: she heats the leftover pasta while you simmer your homemade sauce, adding just a hint of basil because you know she often finds it overpowering.
you ask if she wants any of the arugula salad
she shakes her head
her silence bugs you a little, but you don't want to pry.
after the plates have been washed, put away, you almost ask her to stay.
you decide against it.
she leaves.
3 years ago today.
you wonder if you should've asked her to stay.
if you did, would the little white pills not have found their way down her throat?
if you did, would she have shown up for that dumb quiz?
you exit the library
walk to your motorcycle, parked in the fire lane
light a damp cigarette and stare into a puddle.
you wonder if you should've pried.
a banker with a black umbrella crosses the street.
you drop the cigarette butt into the puddle
mount your bike
rain slams against your hunched back as you speed away.
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