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If Only...If Only...If...

...Like We'd Be in it Together

By Alex CaseyPublished 2 years ago Updated 11 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - May 2022
If Only...If Only...If...
Photo by Gadiel Lazcano on Unsplash

“We talked about the future like we’d be in it together.”

Part 1

I wrote that line a few months ago

About a slowly dying friendship

With my best COVID friend

And I knew what I meant

Exactly what I meant

When I wrote it

And it does


To him



Obviously it applies to other relationships, too

To every ghosted chat with any sincerity

To every half-hearted friendship

And of course every lost love

And I know that some do

Connect knowing

It won’t last

But I

Do not



In whatever capacity it may turn out to be

When I make connections–with anyone

I talk like–act like–it’s for eternity

Maybe it’s games and laughs

Or late chats and secrets

Or long-time lovers

Regardless there


Will be



I hear you ask: What about now?

And yes, Now does exist, too

But is life a series of "now"s

Or is it a series of "later"s?

And if every now is later

And later never comes

Then why

Should we



Live for today! I hear people shout

As if that’s really how it works

But if you only live for today

How do you leave a world

In such pain and tragedy

In a gentler way

Than how

It was



Personally, I have been completely ghosted

By people who I wholeheartedly believed

Would be in my future forever and ever

But I never heard from them again

Maybe they’re conflict-averse

I hear you say




Part 2

But the line that I wrote is much bigger than that

Bigger than me alone or any lousy relationship

It’s national, international, humanity total

Because we must believe that we must

Be in a future together–all of us

Acting all the while

As if

We’ll be



We talk about not only our futures

But our children’s futures

Our hopes and dreams

Goals for ourselves

For our children

And the world

But then…

Like a

Star that



Shining in the dark night sky

No moon to light our path

Hope is extinguished and

Dreams are shattered

And just like that

In one moment

It is




How do we pick up the shattered pieces?

How do we mend our broken spirits

When we never prepared for

Them to shatter at all?

It can’t happen here

Not to me, to us

That happens

Only to




We thought that faith would save us

In higher beings, maybe, but also

In governments, in love’s power

In each other and our own

Compassion and sense of

Dignity that would keep

Terrible things away

From us

If we


Part 3

It would be hard to find a time when we

Were collectively more wrong than this

Because it turns out that faith alone

Belief without action will never

No, it will never–be enough

To keep terror away from

Us and our children who

We love

Oh so



What do we do now? we ask each other as if

Any of us have any answers now or any

Other time that tragedy obliterates our

Sense of self, security, and trust

What is there to do, really?

Hug our children, yes

And one another

And let

Each other



Actions will be taken–possibly, hopefully–or not

People will act and say what they always do

There will be promises–likely later broken

There will be apologies–as if that helps

There will be those thoughts and

Those prayers that ultimately

Exist because we feel like

We should

Try to



Something more. Something more than what has been done

Honestly, something more than what we are capable of

How do we give ourselves so much and so little credit

Simultaneously? Deep down we know that what we

Can do–any of us can do–is limited

We can plead for change and beg

For progress and scream that we

Know that

This is


Part 4

To be clear, this is not meant to reflect on a single event

Although there is one event obviously on our minds

This is not directed just to that because it is likely–

Almost impossibly likely–that something like

This will happen again. And again. And…

And each time, a different family will

Have to find a way to mend as we

Are stuck

In a



So I ask you again: Is life a series of "now"s or a series of "later"s?

Or maybe–in a warped sense–it is a series of “then”s instead

Because when it was then--in the past–it was okay

But then it was broken, then it was gone

And now we don’t know how to cope

Now, how do we comfort our kids?

And later, will it be better like we

Try to

Smile and



We talked about the future like we’d be in it together

Like we’d walk this hard journey with the people

We loved most, and the people they loved most

What could have been…we say to ourselves

Reminiscing about the future–as if we’d

Have been able to do great things if

Only we had a little more time

If only…

If only…


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About the Creator

Alex Casey

I'm a full-time educator and part-time writer. My best ideas usually end up on Vocal.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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