The peaceful night cradled the mangled car, the breeze caressing the exposed chassis as well as the small, pale hand that extended from beneath it's weight. The owner of the hand had come to a while ago, and was now peering out from below the mechanical beast's eternal grasp, envious of her fingers ability to move as they would, freely.
No. Not eternal. She would not accept this. This was not an acceptable outcome. Sara Sidle had plans for eternity and not a single one involved expiring under a totaled Mustang. Not a single one. Her breath was caught somewhere between her raw throat and her knotted stomach, lingering as though it wanted nothing to do with this situation.
That was when her face crumbled. A sob ricocheted upwards, forcing that breath out into the night air. The sob echoed in her ears as though it bounced off every single grain of sand below her and the clouds that were somewhere above her.
The first tear slipped down her cheek as the first drop slid through the air.
Drop after tear, tear after drop. The sky mimicked the slender woman beneath the car until the desert surrounding her was soaked. In her mind, she wondered if maybe Mother Nature was offering her sympathy; joining her in mourning the loss, the loss of dreams, the loss of love, the loss of life. Surely the wise woman had seen her tale play out over the wide expanse of her surface. She had watched her struggle time after time after time through an abusive home, through foster care, through the awkward years of adolescence and the awkward years of adulthood. She had to have seen each and every blow delivered to her heart, how could she have missed it?
Hell, Sara hadn't.
The anger behind the thought only made her sob harder.
What had she done in this life or the last to deserve this? It was a dangerous pattern of thinking but she didn't care. She was in a dangerous situation; her thoughts may as well match the scenery.
And so, Sara cried…and cried…and cried. She wept for everything she could remember, everything she'd forgotten and everything she'd yet to see. Like the attendee of one's own pity party, she cried for every wrong she'd been dealt, for every moment of heartache and every second of every situation she could imagine. Tear after tear slipped through the grains of sand, and soon a rivulet of water appeared, leaking into the little hell she'd created for herself.
What could she do? What was there to do?
Never one to attend parties long, a little voice in the back her head spoke up, and surprisingly enough, it wasn't her own.
The little voice whispered. That was what she could do, she could live.
The thought gave her pause. If this pattern of living through hellish situations was all that awaited her, was it worth it?
The water continued to soak her and the area around her, until her entire body felt cold and clammy. Her tears had slowed, but the rain hadn't. Why was this worth it?
Because, you love me, and I love you?
Did he really?
The answer was supplied although even without the aid of the voice she knew the answer. She knew what she believed and like a child to a security blanket, she clung to it.
The words slipped from her raw throat and in her mind she imagined them floating away through the rain to him, like dandelion seeds floated through the air in the summer. He was coming for her.
He loved her and he was coming for her. Somebody loved her and was coming for her.
The thought wrapped itself around her and the realization was as heady as the first time she knew, even though at the time he'd thought she was sleeping. She wanted to tell him right then. The need to say the words was clawing at her, so she exhaled them into the cold, the clouds of her breath cradling the words as they floated away, taking the same path his name had.
I love you, Honey.
Suddenly her eyes were wide as a realization slammed into her like a ton of bricks. Here, under a car in the middle of the desert, Sara Sidle knew the secret to life.
She'd found it. Sara had searched everywhere for the answer to just what she could do to make life a little easier, to survive through it all: through the pain, the assumptions, the ridiculous behavior of herself and others, the loss, the darkness, the light, the tears, the memories, everything. Through the moments of joy and triumph, and through those moments it felt like one more second and she'd be pulled down, down, down…
But there was one thing she could do. One simple thing and half the battle would be won; a part of the journey would be completed.
Keep breathing, Dear.
Close your eyes, part your lips, or use your nose if you prefer, inhale, and let it go.
Keep breathing, Sara
Just keep breathing, Honey.
I need you to keep breathing, Sara.
Keep breathing, Sara, just keep breathing.
"Please, Sara, please just keep breathing."
Grissom's large hand clutched Sara's limp, cold digits as he pressed himself as close as he could to the space where she was confined. His tear blurred eyes were trained to the slight part in her lips where every few seconds a small cloud would hold his world together.
"I need you to keep breathing, Sara, God I need you to keep breathing."