At some point I look up and it is not Tack next to me, but Alex. He is sewing up a cut on the woman’s shoulder, using a regular sewing needle and long, dark thread. He is pale with concentration, but he moves fluidly and quickly. He has obviously had practice. It occurs to me that there is so much I never knew about him—his past, his role in the resistance, what his life was like in the Wilds, before he came to Portland, and I feel a flash of grief so intense it almost makes me cry out: not for what I lost, but for the chances I missed.
But maybe happiness isn’t in the choosing. Maybe it’s in the fiction, in the pretending: that wherever we have ended up is where we intended to be all along.