So often it ends long before you stop playing. You’ll get to a final point, stop, breathe, and look back; you can place it, the day and time. Yet you soldiered on, because you weren’t going to let fate get the best of you, nobody was going to tell you when it was time to quit.
You were licked. And yet hope springs eternal, I mean, it has to, or else you wouldn’t have been there in the first place. So you redoubled your efforts in an attempt to obfuscate the obvious, as if some sort of superhuman effort – even in the wrong direction – was going to be the fix. You wanted to hit that 3-pointer at the buzzer, but when the buzzer sounded, you never even had the ball.
You remember the day it happened. It was a tiny moment, or maybe a huge one, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Both are one and the same in your world, an Escher painting of stairs going the wrong way and water flowing upwards, and besides, you stopped telling the difference between whispers and screams a long time ago.
You have one thing to remember. Every time the earth goes around the sun, you get to start over, and there is no bleeding. The draftsman yanks the paper away, crumples it in the basket, and starts a fresh page. You may be an amalgamation of your failures, but you’re also powered by the light valence of your victories, and the only battle you have left is knowing which part of yourself to set on fire.