Disclaimer: Power Rangers and all associated subjects and entities are the property of Saban Entertainment and Disney and are used in this story without permission. Lyrics included are from the song "You Could Be Happy" by Snow Patrol and no rights are implied. This is for non-profit, entertainment purposes.
What Happiness Is
By Chanelle Summer
A/N – I need to say a big thanks to Mali! She's the only reason this is being posted, so thank you so much for inspiring me and your continual support in all areas of my life! It only makes sense that this is dedicated to you, girl. This fic contains lyrics from the song "You Could be Happy" by the band Snow Patrol- this song has always been a favorite of mine and I have always found the bitter-sweet lyrics to be so well suited to Tommy and how he would feel post-break up from Kimberly. This isn't a "letter" or a "reunion" fic…just a gentle reflection on Tommy's behalf.
Season: Zeo (Unspecified time, but is Post "There's No Business like Snow Business")
Characters: Tommy first person pov
Summary: Watching Kimberly in the event that sparked their downfall, Tommy reflects on the state of their final months together as he tries to determine if they have both found what they were after all along- true happiness.
The atmosphere visually reeks of pure adrenalin and I am captivated, not by the gymnastics, not by patriotic pride, but by this one girl. A girl I used to know.
Her silhouette spins effortlessly, arms trailing her torso as the lights and background seem to pull in around her frame in an embrace of warm glory. With every leap, every liquefied motion, she slips further into her own world, momentarily stealing away, before allowing the stray flashes of cameras to catch up to her trance. She welcomes a breath and opens her arms wide as though to invite the world in and we follow...I follow her into her living canvas.
This is the first time I have watched her, allowed myself to find my truth. Questions hum in my ears like the intrusion of insects, as I wonder if this will be my moment; The moment when I discover if it was all worth it.
She grins for the camera and I press my guilty thumb on the pause button of the remote control, a shiver running down my spine as her beauty remains still for my anxious heart.
The one that is hoping- praying- that her smile is real.
could be happy and I won't know
But you weren't happy the day I watched you go
The paused image is burnt into the screen and is one I remember, despite the day I last saw her.
The last time I brushed her hands and was allowed to tell her I loved her to her face. She cried that day, like all the others. I was still, as I watched the plane steal her away from me again, just like all the months before hand.
Isn't it funny how we were both doing something to make our lives better, and yet the longer it went on, the worse we suffered? I almost found her tone on our long distance phone calls to be one of numbness. After we would end our calls, I used to go so far as to pretend that it was just the poor quality of the phone line, or the fact that she was tired and I was tired.
There were some phone calls where she would do nothing but weep and they were the worst. The first few times it happened, I remember feeling so sick that I cried myself a little after she would go. She would ask the same question and I would give her the same answer.
Did she make the right decision to leave and follow her heart?
Of course so.
I told her to go. I was selfless, with selfish motives. If I could forever be her friend, then she would never forget about me.
She would never forget about us.
So, I would tell her not to cry and that everything would be okay. That I wanted her to be happy…what could I do to make her smile? I would ask her every single call.
all the things that I wished I had not said
Are played in loops till it's madness in my head
During those phone calls, I would lie still on my bed and stare at the ceiling of my bedroom. I would always assure her she could trust me with her tears, yet secretly I would pray for her to stop. Her soft sounds of misery were like tiny fires in my belly and I would feed her with promises of simplistic hope just to extinguish them. How she was always on my mind, how I thought about her all day- but it all just seemed to make things so much worse.
She would just start crying again and I would realize I was lying to her. Being a ranger had forced me to learn the art of deceit for a good cause, but even I couldn't justify it to myself when I realized I had started lying to Kimberly. Not because I didn't think about her, but because I was just too God-damned busy to think outside the box.
Outside the club to which Kimberly was no longer a member.
And when I realized how easy it was to forget about her, I had started to panic. Memories of her and I would flood and rebound inside my skull…
it too late to remind you how we were?
But not our last days of silence, screaming, blur
Before she left, we used to hold hands all the time. When we passed through busy corridors, she would refuse to let my fingers go sometimes, even if people or objects moved to cut us apart. We were never crazy over each other in view of the world, but in light of everything wonderful above us, would make up for it in the sanctuary of each other. I never liked the taste of lip balm, but the smell of hers would drive me crazy. We would talk a lot, but touch each other so much more.
I was so comfortable around her that laughing became my favorite thing to do. A smile would always grace her face, but she always did smile differently to me. She projected innocence in every whisper against my ear, in the way her fingers intertwined with mine. We would tell each other we were in love and we were. I know I loved her.
And I don't know how I forgot that. I'm not sure why I handled the break-up the way I did.
All I can do now is stare at her image on the television screen and still wonder why she didn't just call and why I hated her so much for it. The hate made it so much harder, too much to bear, because I know now the only reason she made that choice was because of me.
I told her to let go, to fall blindly into her opportunity. To take a chance. To never cry for me.
It was because of me that everything turned out the way it did.
of what I remember makes me sure
I should have stopped you from walking out the door
I never should have lied into her beautiful eyes, to imagine them through the phone line and cover them with patters of kisses as though to lessen the hurt. She shouldn't have asked me if I wanted her to leave for Florida in the first place and that way I wouldn't have forced myself to let her fingers slip from mine.
I should have realized that distance doesn't make the heart grow fonder. It makes the heart grow without love.
I'm not saying I didn't miss her after she left. When her voice sung through the phone, or when one of the guys mentioned her name, my heart would tremble a little. But I survived without her. The sun still rose in the morning and the hands on the clock still turned in their eternal, rhythmic hymn. I even laughed without her there to tickle my soul.
The pain of realizing that I could live without her- that I could be happy and exist in the same world in her absence was what made that time so hard for me to accept. That she could not only live on without me, but flourish- was the second hit to my gut and sat in my mouth as bitter as the words that she wrote to me.
If she never would have gone, she never would have written that letter. But if she never would have gone, she would never be truly happy.
And I would never be truly happy, either.
could be happy, I hope you are
You made me happier than I'd been by far
And I hope she is. I hope when her eyelids unroll with every fresh awakening and challenge that she can't help but be so. I wish that if anything, she's as happy as the words in her second last letter to me…and happier than her final letter, the one after it was all said and done. I pray that she can't remember how it felt those few weeks at the end of it all, but can remember what she learned from being with me and all of our beautiful mistakes. The way we taught each other what happiness is.
She made me happy for a very long time. They were some of the best years of my life, the most memorable. It wouldn't have hurt so damn much if I hadn't have loved her so passionately, with all my youthful intensity and neediness. She taught me what contentment meant and how it felt. I'd never known what it was until I discovered her.
I took it for granted in too many ways until I lost it.
everything I own smells of you
And for the tiniest moment it's all not true
Seeing her now at the event that sparked our downfall, she's just a face amongst many, glistening with untouchable hope and talent. People know her face, but yet I know her smell. Just a scant thought of her reminds me of the things that I know about this girl- now nearly a woman.
Like how she would spray perfume in her hair and let it tease me in the gentle breeze, or the way she would rub scented moisturizer into her flushed skin after spending too many hours in my pool. I used to joke with Jason about how much it bugged me the way she would wear by muscle shirts against her bare skin, because I could never get her smell out of them; but really all I wanted was for her flesh to be against mine.
I don't own any of those shirts anymore, but the memory of their scent still remains. And with just a simple thought of that, or seeing her face on the television like I am now, brings her back to me and I can almost remember- almost- that she was once the center of my universe.
the things that you always wanted to
Without me there to hold you back, don't think, just do
A year ago I was convinced that Kimberly wasn't just a part of my universe- she was helping me breathe and was the gravity that moved my feet along when I was unsure of where to step next. What I knew of my life in Angel Grove was her. I'd never lived a day here without her in some way changing it.
But my life is still as good as it was before she left; my days aren't touched by her anymore, but by everything I learned from her. There are now other people who gravitate around her; there's now someone else out there who believes they can't live without her. She loves gymnastics, that was never up for debate; but by the glint in her eyes right now, I can tell her whole outlook has been changed. She's found her wings and finally owns the world that once owned her.
I had always held onto her shoulders without realizing and I guess she had been too afraid to ask me to release her. Maybe she thought she would fall? I still feel that way about being a ranger and I wonder how I will feel that day when I am sent off to finally live. To do whatever I've been stolen from all this time. A life, with nothing to think about but where I've been and what could be.
than anything I want to see you go
Take a glorious bite out of the whole world
I pick up the remote again and press the 'play' button, watching as her face turns away again to shower the crowd with her joy. She salutes the world. Noise radiates as her reward. I can only smile as the footage steals her from view and moves toward her score.
She's doing well. As good as she had always hoped and as well as I knew she'd do. For that lengthy pause, I saw only her smile and nothing more. Not gratification, not relief. Not a sigh, as though to confirm that she had taken a big risk and it had paid off. She looks happy.
And despite the path we traveled, we got here, both of us- we've both found happiness. I have the answer that's been niggling me since I received that letter, and since the subsequent end of our romance. I have realized just how happy I am, by seeing how happy she truly is.