Message in a Bottle

Today I woke up knowing that I was going to do it, that I had to do it. I was going to say goodbye to the only man I've truly ever loved. I almost feel guilty thinking that way. I mean, I am involved with someone else now. His name is Quinn. He's wonderful and handsome and debonair. He treats me like a queen. He should be all that I need and all that I want but in my heart, I will probably always long for another, someone that I can never have. Is that pathetic? Yes, probably. After all, the one I love, stopped loving me years and years ago. But I've always felt so deeply, whether I wanted to or not. He stole my heart that first night we met and he never got it back.

I slide free of the covers, careful not to awaken Quinn. He sleeps on his stomach and groans a bit when I shift my weight on the bed, but he doesn't awaken. Good, I need to do this without any interference.

I get out of the king-size bed and walk into the bathroom. I look at myself in the mirror, really take a good long look. My hair is getting on the long side and my eyes are a little darker than I remember them being, but it's still me. The same old Billie Reed.

I brush my teeth, use the toilet and then move back into the adjoining bedroom. I am quiet as a mouse as I move around the room, gathering up my clothes. I end up wearing a long shawl over a flimsy tee-shirt; as well as denim jeans and sandals. I figure it doesn't matter how I look. It's barely five a.m. No one else is going to be out there.

I quickly scribble a note to Quinn saying that I went for a run - I am not ready to tell him or anyone what I'm doing - and will be back in awhile. I place the paper on my pillow beside his. I lightly ruffle his blond hair. Who would have ever seen me with a platinum blond - a banker at that? Certainly not me. Whenever I'd pictured a future, Bo had always been a part of it, even when I knew it was impossible.

I grab a bag in the kitchen and fill it with what I need and then I start out on foot. The boulevard, which is typically crowded at any other time of the day, is empty now. It's just me out here. Just me against the world. I remember a time when it was Bo and me against the world but that was so long ago. I need to let go of the past. I need to find a way to move on. I think - or at least, I hope - that today will be the day I can do just that - move forward with renewed purpose. It's a long shot but I've got to try.

I reach my destination. The local beach. The sand seems to stretch on for miles and the whole area is deserted. Good. I don't want anyone else to be there when I say goodbye.

I walk down the beach, sand filling my shoes. I reach the water's edge and stand just far back enough that it only reaches my toes. The water flirts with my feet and then ebbs away, crashing back to sea.

I sit down in the sand and just stare out at the water for a time. It could have been twenty minutes or an hour. I'm not sure. Time blends together fairly often these days. I can easily count the minutes and days though since Chelsea stumbled through my door, tears gushing down her pretty cheeks, and told me the news that would rock my world. I remember she was holding her swollen belly and I tried to talk her down but it was impossible. I did manage to push her into a chair and ask her to calm herself, if only for her baby's sake. She sat very reluctantly and then said the words that shattered my heart. "Mom, Dad's gone. I mean, really gone. He's … dead."

I was sure she was mistaken. Bo Brady would not die; at least not the way she told me he did. He was too strong, too capable, too larger than life. But she managed to convince me of the truth and we just held each other. I didn't cry then. I was partly shell-shocked I think; partly still in denial; and the other part of me wanted to be strong for my emotional, pregnant daughter.

I didn't cry for several weeks, although Bo - memories of Bo - were never far from my mind. It only really hit home come Christmastime when Quinn asked me to move in with him. He didn't know anything about Bo's passing. He truthfully didn't know much about the man who came before him. I preferred to keep it that way. I said I would move in with him but once I actually started moving my things into his place, that's when the tears came. I cried for hours, rocking myself back and forth, back and forth. Quinn returned that night from work to find me lying on our bed looking completely lost, as he put it. I just told him that I was tired. I still haven't told him Bo is dead. Chelsea would have told him at some point, but shamefully I asked her not to. I can't discuss Bo with anyone, not until I make peace anyway.

These last few months I have been trying so hard to let go of Bo, but it wasn't until this morning that I knew I might be able to say goodbye. You see, I dreamt about Bo last night. We hugged and I got to tell him that I loved him once more. When he slipped away into that dream world ether, for once, I didn't feel compelled to chase after him. I feel maybe that was a sign that I am ready to say goodbye.

I sigh and reach into my bag, pulling out a pen and a pad of plain white paper. I take a deep breath and then I start to write. I know I need to pour my heart out onto those pages or I can never move forward. So no matter what emotions I feel, I have to put them down. It doesn't matter if Bo never will get to read this letter; at least I wrote it.

Dearest Bo,

How does one start a letter like this? You will never get to read it after all because … you're gone. Everytime I try to wrap my mind around that fact I feel a little broken. Okay, I can admit it: I feel very broken. You are Bo Brady. Somehow I never expected you to leave the world, not before me anyway. We both know you lived your life dangerously but I lived it more so, because of the choices I made. I got involved in drugs; I got involved in a lot of things that were bad for me. I figured my time card would be punched sometime ago. Truthfully, I wanted to die before you. I know that sounds crazy and pathetic but it's true. I knew that I would have a hard time living in a world you're not a part of. Yes we've been apart for years. I learned to accept that in some ways but accepting you're gone forever is a little harder to wrap my crazy brain around. Here I am though, sitting on the beach, and you're somewhere far from here. Is there a heaven, Bo? Are you up there? If so, I imagine you're giving everyone there hell. It's what you did best. You used to give me hell, Bo, especially in our earlier years together. As much as I claimed to hate you interfering in my life, I was lying, Bo. I loved it because in my mind, it meant you cared. And I needed someone to care about me. I felt so alone before you came into my life. In some ways, I am experiencing that loneliness all over again. Everyone is mourning your death but few people have realized that I am doing the same. My mom spent so much energy trying to get us together or back together over the years and yet every time we've talked on the phone lately, your name hasn't come up. It's like the whole world forgot what you and I used to mean to each other. But Bo, I haven't. I never will. For a time, you loved me, and that knowledge has to sustain me now.

Bo, I miss you. I know we hadn't seen each other in years and years before you … died. God I have such a hard time writing that word … But I will always miss you. You never forget the first person you gave your heart to, the first person who saw the ugliness inside of you and loved you anyway. You saw past my past, Bo, you saw past my facade and you loved me. You gave me so much, namely our daughter. Chelsea is slowly learning to cope with your … death… There's that word again... She's strong, she's capable. She's your daughter, of course, so how could she not be strong? She's the best thing that ever happened to me. Thank you for giving her to me, for giving her back to me when for years we thought she was gone forever.

Did you know that Chelsea gave birth to a son two weeks ago? He's a miracle in every way, especially because we truly thought Chelsea would never have kids of her own. But she has him and he's beautiful. She named him Angel Bo Brady. Yes, your name lives on. Isn't that wonderful? I look at him and see so much of you in him. Not only does he look a lot like you, he's charming as hell. Just like you always were, even though I know you would have fought that label. Chelsea and Max and Angel will be just fine. I know they will; I will make sure of it and if there is a heaven, I know you're there looking after them too.

Bo, you meant the world to me. Even when you chose to live a life that didn't include me, I still nurtured this insane hope in my heart that you would come back. Now I know you're really not coming back. It gives me a little comfort though knowing you didn't die alone, that your wife Hope was there with you in your last moments. I know that she held you tight and told you what you meant to her. I am glad you didn't suffer alone.

Bo, I will always think of you. Everytime I visit L.A. on a business trip, I will think of our adventure out there. Everytime I hear our song on the radio, I will think of how you helped me find myself. Everytime I see our grandson, I will think of the sacrifices you made for your family. I will always think of you with complete fondness. I think most of all, I will always picture us standing on that mountaintop pledging our love to each other with just the moon and stars as witness. You looked so handsome that night and I believed we had an amazing future ahead of us. You promised me that we would. I could be angry, I want to be, but I'm not. Promises got broken, things were done that can't be undone, but I don't regret any of it. Loving you… It was what I was meant to do, Bo Brady. Though you'll never read this letter, I had to write it. I am choosing to move on, Bo. This is a good start, right? Wherever you are, just know that you were loved not just by me, but your children, your family, your wife. Anyone who ever met you, Bo, walked away a changed person forever.

Goodbye, Bo.

All my love,
Billie Reed

Tears were on Billie's cheeks and some even dotted the pages of her letter. She slowly folded it up and then reached into the bag for the last item she had brought with her. She slid the rolled up letter into the mouth of an old resin bottle and corked it. She stood up and shaking off her sandals, she moved towards the ocean. The water splashed her feet and legs as she reached the shoreline. She slowly bent down and placed the bottle in the water. With a sigh then, she let it go. It bobbed in the water for a few moments and then the current took it, carrying it quickly away towards sea.

"Goodbye, Bo," Billie whispered, dashing at her wet cheeks. She stared at the water long after the bottle had been carried out of sight. She would never forget Bo and all that he had meant to her but maybe, just maybe, she would learn how to be okay. If he had taught her one thing, it was that she was strong; strong enough even to survive living a world that he wasn't in anymore.

THE END.

Note: I wrote this because the show never addressed Billie's feelings about Bo's death. I don't think they ever will so this is therapy for the 'Bollie' fan in me. I hope you liked it.