Title: The Goddess of New Jersey
Disclaimer: I am not the owner of anything of note, don't bother to try and take anything because there is nothing to take, save my dignity, and I am unwilling to part with that at present. I don't think you'd really want it anyway.
A/N This was the brainchild of a sleepless night and a restless fatigued mind. It's wholly implausible, complete myth and fable, and could never and would never happen on the show in a thousand years. It's the trippiest damn thing I've written in a long time, but there were certain images I couldn't get out of my head. And so I wrote them down, and you can have them, and take from them what you will.
To everyone who reads this and likes it, or reads it and hates it, or reads it and doesn't get it--thank you in advance for reviewing, or flaming, or just not responding at all. I love you and think you are wonderful.
He had a dream one night, after too much scotch and Vicodin, in a state of blurriness which gave way to things both beautiful and ridiculous. In the dream he stood in a museum, and Cameron was there with him. She was wearing a long green satin dress and it shimmered in light from an unknown source. Instead of paintings, the walls were covered in endless medical charts that had beautiful frames like they were important. He told her that she looked like a painting by Botticelli, and he loved her more than anything in the world, and all sorts of things he would certainly never say in real life, no matter how drunk he was. She told him that he looked like a Salvador Dali cross-bred with a Heironymous Bosch and possibly a bit of Picasso thrown in, but she loved him anyway and thought he was beautiful. And they danced, because his leg suddenly worked again, and while they danced he became aware that he was dreaming, and that he would lose it, and so he held onto her more tightly--but Wilson was shaking him awake and he blinked his eyes and realized it was morning, and he felt angry and cheated and miserable--though he didn't really understand why.
Some nights he slept in his office, stretched out in a chair, because he just didn't feel like going home. He looked out the window and turned on some music, and watched lights move around, coming on and going off. He listened to cars going past way below on the street, and he thought about New Jersey, and if it was really as bad as people made it out to be, or if every place on earth was really the same if you saw enough of it. New Jersey was the world, the world New Jersey, that's all he needed know on earth, etcetera, etcetera, poetry, lovely, whatever.
He caught sight of his reflection in the glass of the window and was afraid because he thought he saw something horrible outside staring in at him. And then he realized that there was something horrible looking out and seeing itself reflected. He marveled that he didn't turn to stone.
There was a room full of soft color, where there was no sound, and the only light was from the colors that shone off of the walls. He was slightly aware of a presence that was kind and good and he wondered if he had died in his sleep and this was heaven. And then he recalled that when he died for real before, it hadn't felt half so wonderful, and so he figured he was just sleeping the stoned sleep of a miserable man high on pain medication. Still, he thought he might like to stay in this dream for awhile. A pair of hands that were invisible to his eyes touched his face lightly and lovingly, as if he were a breakable thing. And he felt unworthy, even if only for a second. Then the hands left him and the colors faded and he fell awake into harsh sun and a screaming pain in his leg, and he realized that he was still wearing the same clothes as the day before.
The next night he was back in his office, lying in the chair again. He thought of everyone he had ever saved, and all the people he couldn't save. And he thought of all the people who hated him and blamed him, because he was there and corporeal, and easier to strike at than god. And he hated and blamed himself, because he was still here and corporeal, and could be struck.
He tilted his head back and stared at the ceiling and tried to count how many tiles were up there. It was actually impossible to do, because eventually your eyes crossed and you ended up counting the same tile twice or even three times.
He shut his eyes, feeling purposeless, like static and white noise and old newspapers that nobody wants to read anymore.
And he supposed he fell asleep then, because the soft colors were back, and so were the hands. In a desperate attempt to keep himself inside the dream, he reached out to touch the hand that was touching him with such reverance. And this act, paradoxically, snapped him awake as his fingers closed over a pale, slim wrist.
Blue eyes met bluer eyes and beauty met ruin. He looked at Alison, who stared back at him, with a face full of emotions that there were no words for.
He stared for awhile, still holding her hand, and then he said to her:
''I thought you were god.''
She was far from it, she assured him, he was dreaming. She sometimes watched him when he never went home, when he came into his office and fell asleep. And she said that she knew he would never let her get that close to him while he was awake, so she had to take what she could get.
''I thought I died, at first. And then I realized that I was asleep. I did die before, and I didn't see god and I didn't see heaven, and it didn't feel any special way at all''.
He had closed his eyes so he didn't have to see her, but he knew she was there because he could hear her breathing.
''I have no idea of a god or an afterlife, but I heard somewhere that god was something wonderful and compassionate and good, who loved you no matter how horrible a person you were. There was always the chance for redemption. I don't have any real way of knowing if anything like that exists in the next world, but it's nice to think that something so wonderful exists in this world, here, now, New Jersey.''
She wondered what to say to all that, and he wondered if he should have opened his mouth, and she wondered if she should have touched him at all, and he wondered why he was ever born. And all their wondering really led them nowhere and taught them nothing, it only gave them a few moments of silence to think and look at each other, and listen to each other breathe.
Somewhere the sun was rising and the light was spilling over New Jersey, because yes, the sun shone there too. The sun shone over everything, like the Bible said, the good and the bad, the worthy and the unworthy, and everything and everywhere and everyone in between. And that sunlight slipped in through the windows and covered them both; the man who was empty and nothing and didn't care, and the woman who was loving, and good, and cared too much.
He did not have the slightest bit of understanding what dreams really were, or death was, or salvation, and he didn't think it really mattered at all. She moved closer to him again, and returned her hands to his face almost as if in an act of blessing. He supposed he was in the presence of the closest thing to god that he could ever hope to know, and god was a woman, a pretty woman, and she had soft eyes and long hair and the most gentle hands in this world, or any world as yet unreached or undiscovered.
His fingers laced through hers, and they sat that way for awhile, linked and contemplative, not saying a word at all. They were eyes gazing into eyes in the deepest sort of meeting, just him and the sun and the goddess of New Jersey, forever and ever, world without end, etcetera, etcetera, Amen.