My dearest Ephram,
I've been sitting here for the last half hour simply imagining you, wondering what you must be thinking right now, what you must be feeling, how handsome you must look in your cap and gown. If you're thinking about me, stop. Send a kiss to the sky, and then focus on what's coming towards you I'm entwined in your past, your present, and your future -- you needn't pause to look for me. Don't waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present -- each moment, as it comes -- because you will never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart, where your hope lives. You'll find your way again.
Ephram Brown brushed his deep brown hair out of his smooth chocolate eyes and leaned back into the airplane seat. He was flying off to a continent he had never been before to see places he really did not care that much to see. Escaping to Europe had seemed like the perfect idea; after all, Ephram had desperately needed to get away from his town of Everwood, anyways. He couldn't stand to be in the same breathing space as his father and he had broken up with his long-pined for girlfriend. All of that was completely avoiding the true reason behind it all. The cause of all this, the initial incident… It was something Ephram could never shake from his mind. Madison had a baby. His baby. Neither his first love nor his own father had bothered to tell Ephram that he was a father and now his baby boy was in the hands of some people he had never met. It was mind boggling, and Ephram still hadn't been able to fully grasp the idea.
Life was never fair, and it wasn't a fact that Ephram complained about, but he had been given unexpected pain after unexpected pain. Just a mere three years ago his wonderful mother had passed away. As she was heading to his piano concert, nonetheless. Yeah, that was a very nice helping of guilt and sorrow mixed into the perfect blend of tragedy. His father had apparently gone berserko and dragged Ephram and his kid sister Delia to some spit of land in Colorado where Ephram had subsequently met and fell in love with the perfect girl, Amy Abbott.
Of course, his dream girl had a dream guy who happened to be in a coma in which Ephram's dad could be the only one able to wake him from. His father had succeeded but a second, necessary operation had resulted in Colin Hart's, star jock and beloved by all of Everwood, death. Ephram's father was despised for a while. What a fickle town. His father had saved countless lives and had made a valiant attempt to help another of the seemingly helpless and hadn't succeeded; it wasn't as if he had meant for Colin to die.
The funny thing was that everything had turned out. His father had moved them to Everwood for a reason; it was his mother's wish for them to go there if she ever passed away. The town eventually forgave Andy Brown and the family managed to heal the wound Julia Brown's death had inflicted. Amy even began to develop feelings for Ephram. Hell, a few weeks ago Ephram's life seemed to be finally in order again. He had his lovely girlfriend whom he loved deeply truly love him back. He lost his virginity to a woman whom he also loved. His father wasn't looking like so much of an ass anymore and the two had forged a bond, making the three Browns come together into a real family. Ephram's dream to go to Julliard was coming together; he actually had an audition lined up in New York.
It just had to crash apart, naturally. His father had been hiding the fact that the woman he lost his virginity to, Madison, had gotten pregnant. Andy had paid her to keep silent and leave town. That was a full year ago. Ephram wouldn't even had found out about it if he hadn't run into Madison in New York for the audition. After discovering the life shattering news, Ephram blew off his audition and broke things off with Amy, his relationships were all demolished. Even his sister was unhappy now, because Ephram had gotten up and decided to leave town for an unspecified amount of time. Delia was hurt by the fact that he was ditching her and that fact hurt Ephram. He cared about his baby sister a lot and he didn't ever mean to cause anyone pain. The reality was that both his remaining family members were unhappy, not that his father didn't deserve it, but Delia really shouldn't have been caught in the crossfires. She was innocent, and hadn't done anything but be the cute young girl she was. The fact that she had basically hero-worshipped Ephram did nothing to alleviate the guilt he held for causing her pain.
With a deep sigh, Ephram closed his eyes and tried hard not to think of everything. He wondered when life had become so difficult. Everwood was so topsy-turvy; he had befriended one of the most popular guys in school and had gone steady with the most popular girl. His father was a hero in the town, a celebrity. And Ephram had become a dad in that town. It really was just too much for him to take. Exhaling slowly, Ephram told himself that he needed to do this. He had to get away. He would have gone insane if he had stayed.
Opening his eyes, Ephram looked again at the book lying in his hands. It was Dr. Seuss, and his graduation present from his mother. As her words washed over him again, Ephram felt a few pricks of tears slowly well up in his eyes. He had been so close to her. It wasn't right that she wasn't there to celebrate his graduation. It wasn't right that Ephram was on a plane at that moment instead of wearing the cap and gown, receiving his hard-won diploma with the love of his life. His name would be called around this time. Ephram Brown. And Amy would be off the stage, clutching her diploma, looking gorgeous. His father would probably have attended the ceremony despite his absence. With a twang, Ephram realized that had he stayed in Everwood, that graduation would be the first event his father ever attended for him.
How different would his life had been had his father not lied about Madison's baby? How would things be if the damn condom had worked, had Madison not gotten pregnant at all? How many lives had been ruined or affected by this? Madison had dropped out of post secondary, been chased out of her town, left her band and pretty much all her music aspirations, and had been all alone. All thanks to Andy Brown. Despite Andy's plea for her not to tell Ephram, she still should have shared the news. The baby was half his and he could not believe she just left like that. She had just passed on their off spring to a couple, he had absolutely no say whatsoever. His teenage life was over. He was hurt so deeply when Julia died but this removed any stubbornly lingering traces of innocence he had left in him.
Clenching his fist, Ephram made a distraught sound and slammed his fist into the seat in front of him. An angry sob escaped his soft lips and the tears that were hugging his lids now thundered down his pale cheeks. Ephram placed his hand over his eyes and leaned over his knees, his shoulders shaking uncontrollably.
"Let me go back." He whispered through his sobs. None of the music dangling from his neck could stop the swell of emotions racing through him. No thoughts could distract him, no on flight movie. This was his life.
Ephram could almost hear his mother's melodic voice softly whisper the sweet words she had written for him inside the book she had pre-wrapped. He shifted his eyes and swallowed heavily, re-reading the sweet words from his mother she never got a chance to say. Ephram had no idea that he actually had final words from his mother. He wondered how she must have felt writing them, knowing full well that she planning for her possible death. God, he missed her.
Every laugh ever shared, every smile indulged, ever word spoken, each small gesture… Every moment counted. Ephram bitterly hated the thought but it was tragically true that anyone in his life could go as quickly as his mother had. The last time she had seen him, she had witnessed the routinely snarky remarks he had bit out towards her husband. He hadn't thought of him as his father, no, he was just the husband of his mother. She was always there for him, every concert, every presentation; she was the most supportive person he had known. And so was Amy.
Renewed guilt surged up in Ephram's chest. Amy had been there, cheering him on, from the first day he had moved to Everwood. Granted, she had been using him at first and had kind of neglected him once Colin woke up for the first time, but she was his star that kept him going once his galaxy died. She cheered him on and helped him get to Julliard, always patient with his hectic practice sessions. She hadn't left him when she found out about the pregnancy, she had helped him every step of the way. Even though she too had known about the baby before Ephram, he could accept it a touch more when Amy held back. At least she hadn't known for a year. At least she hadn't been the one who shooed away Madison, then lied about it. God, Amy was more supportive and encouraging, more considerate and all around amazing than anyone could have expected. She actually helped Ephram track down where his baby would be. Then, of course, through every patient step, all her considerations of space, her soft helpfulness and clear understanding, Ephram had pushed her away. He had crushed her. Remembering the tears brimming in her eyes when he told her he didn't want to be her boyfriend anymore, recalling the hurt in her entire body when she accurately whispered brokenly that he had never thought they would last and the betrayal clearly evident as she placed the necklace which symbolized eternity back into his hands… Ephram realized how selfish he was. She was always there for him and then he went flying off across the world, even after finding out that her mom, too, could be gone from her life. Amy's mother had cancer and Amy was still more considerate of Ephram and his life than of herself. She hadn't told him the news, hadn't wanted to keep him in Everwood. She was always putting him first, and in the moment where she would so desperately need someone, he left her.
'And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart, where your hope lives. You'll find your way again'
Ephram sucked in a breath and ignored the world for a minute. Re-opening them, he knew that his purity, his hope, lay in Everwood. He was leaving the one place his mother wanted him to go to, the one place he had found true happiness. All because of a mistake his father made. He had let his father take another piece of him. Ephram realized how much he wanted to be home, to be with Amy again, with his family again. His life was so messed up, but running away wasn't a solution. This was stupid. Ephram had sold his bloody piano to go on this bloody trip. The piano his mother had lovingly bought for him, the piano he had practised countless songs on. That piano was his soul, and another link to his mother. And he had shipped it off so he could get to a place he didn't much care for.
Why did Ephram have a tendency to make things worse? This is what he was doing, after all. And he knew it. This wasn't going to help him or anybody else. He was just hurting those he loved. Though he was immensely angry with his father, he didn't want to hurt him. At first, he had wanted his father to feel every ounce of pain and hurt Andy had caused him over his lifetime. But he loved his father, for all his mistakes and misguided decisions; his heart was in the right place. Julia had married him, after all.
Staring out at the clear sky from the window, Ephram wondered if this was the path he should be taking. Everwood was where his heart was, yet the memories and people pained him so much. Would going away truly soothe the blows?
He wanted so desperately to be able to hug Amy right now, to tell her that he'd never leave her. He wanted to feel her lips again. He wanted to embrace his father and joke with him again, to drop this grudge, this burden. He wanted Delia to smile again, not cry. Why was everything so damn difficult?
Tears continued to slide down his face. Lifting his bony, slender fingers up from the armrest, he gently brushed them away. It had to get better. Dwelling on things from the past would only succeed in propelling him into a pool of wallow. He already knew what he wanted to do and at this point, wasn't that the only thing that counted?
Ephram wanted to go home. His resolve firm, his guilt slowly strangling him and his heart painfully beating, Ephram knew in the very depths of his soul that Everwood was where he belonged. It was the only place in the world he could find healing. Once the plane landed, Ephram would board another and go home. He couldn't run, he knew that. And no matter how horrible he felt, he had to be there for Amy. He would not let her face the prospect of her mother dying by herself.
Things would get better, and in time, Ephram believed he would start to feel happy again. One day, he would wake up and not feel the anger and sadness, one day he would not be plagued with questions and uncertainty. One day he would find acceptance and peace. For now, Ephram just had to keep breathing. His heart was still beating, however agonizingly. There was hope. With Amy, with Everwood, there was always a glimmer of hope.
"Are you all right, sir?" a flight attendant asked, somewhat cautiously.
Ephram smiled. His little fit had happened only a few minutes ago, though it felt like another lifetime. "Yeah. I'm fine. Thanks." Running his artistic hands through his longer hair, Ephram's intense eyes lightened up for the first time in weeks.