As the eve of another birthday approaches, I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living. What if it were somebody else instead, what if I went here and not there, what if I chose that and not this, what if he stayed for a few minutes longer? Actions and reactions. Cause and effect. We’ll never know the ifs. But what if the ifs are what matter? Or perhaps life really does just have a gap, a persistent longing.