Well, I just wrote this one early this morning, and I'm quite happy with it. I read part of it to my friend, Sarah, and she asked me why I had to write something so depressing, but she liked it nonetheless.
This is all from Knox's perspective (first person and present tense, both of which I am actually enjoying now that I spend time writing them) after the movie about Neil's death and everything. Chris is in it, so there's quite a bit of KnoxChris in it. Other than that, rather depressing and all that fun stuff.
By the way, this was written whilst I was listening to the song "Pinch Me" by Barenaked Ladies, so I'm sure that, if you listen to the song, you'll understand where I got all the ideas and stuff in here. If not, that doesn't really matter. You don't need to know the song to understand the story or anything like that.
Disclaimer: I don't own DPS (sadly). If I did, ...oh, I don't know what I'd do. I love everything the way it is, even if it's depressing, because the characters and their personalities wouldn't be the same if the story had gone differently. And, of course, I do not own "Pinch Me" by Barenaked Ladies. The Barenaked Ladies obviously do.
I shouldn't be here. I know I shouldn't be here. But I just had to come. I need to see Chris. I think I'm going crazy at Hell-ton with everything that's been happening. She's the only thing in my life right now that hasn't been changed drastically because of all that's occurred, and, right now, that's exactly what I need.
When I reach the coffee shop, though, she's not there yet. I choose a booth by the window and watch the snow fall outside, waiting for her. It's really beautiful like Todd said before, but I don't mean it the same way he did. I think he was trying to say that, despite everything horrible, the snow was still beautiful and pure—unchanged by the world around it. However, the snow I see right now is black and melting from all the cars and people walking through it. That snow is changed by the world around it.
The waitress seems nice when she offers me a menu and a drink, but I think that might be because my eyes are still pink around the edges from crying. "I'm not hungry," I respond, denying the menu, but I do order a cup of hot chocolate, which is enough to sate my current despair for a while. I'm just hoping that Chris can sate the rest that a good cup of warm cocoa can't.
When she does arrive a short while later, she's more beautiful than even the snow could be in all its purity. Despite everything, I smile at her and she smiles back, even if hers is filled with worry. This is the first time I've seen her face-to-face since the night of the play, but she knows what happened and I know she's been trying to see me ever since she heard. With all the expulsions and the church services, though, there hasn't been much time.
"How are you doing?" her gentle voice asks.
I want to answer that everything's all right, that I'm doing well. But I just can't. Sure, I can say that to my parents—in fact, I did—but I can't lie to Chris. Suddenly, I want to cry again, to tell her my life is forever changed and polluted by the horrors of losing one of my best friends, to beg her to hold me together because I don't know if I can hold myself up without falling apart, but I know I can't do that either. I don't want to make her worry more than she's worrying now. So I just remain silent and look out the window again.
"That bad, huh?" she says sadly and places her hands out on the table to me to hold if I need something. Undoubtedly, I take her hands in mine and relish the warmth that she brings to my cold fingers. It's like what the cocoa was doing before only better. She orders something for us to share because, "You have to eat something, Knox," but I'm still not hungry, so I just shake my head.
We sit in silence, and it's almost agonizing. I wanted to see her because, for some asinine reason, I felt that she would be able to make everything perfect. Even she can't do that, no matter how much I love her. It's better, but it will never be perfect again. We lost that chance to be perfect a week ago when Neil—God, I can't even think about it without my eyes filling up with tears.
"Oh, Knox," she says, leaning forward. I think she's been watching me this entire time. She saw the tears I tried my best to hide.
Finally, I decide I should actually speak to her. She came here for me, and I haven't said a word yet—how horrible of me. "Will it ever get any easier than this?" I inquire meekly. If anyone has the answers, it her… or Mr. Keating, but he isn't here right now.
"Of course it will," she responds, squeezing my hand in a way she hopes is comforting and it is.
"How can it? Af-after all this? How can it, Chris?" My voice isn't as strong as I would have liked. I had to be strong for the others before, but, now that it's just me and her, I know I have to let it out, let my feelings show.
"Time heals everything, Knox. You should know that."
"I don't know if I can believe that, though."
"If time heals all wounds, why didn't he just stay and let it heal him?"
She hesitates, but I know she has an answer—just one that I know I won't enjoy. Eventually, she says, "In my opinion, death is a way of healing. When we grow old and tired, we die—and that's not a bad thing."
"But he wasn't old and tired. He was young and alive and so excited to be acting."
"We don't get to choose when the people we love disappear. But those left behind have to learn to carry on with their lives."
"How can I?"
"Carry on, Knox. I didn't say 'forget about it'. Just 'carry on'. That can't be so bad, can it?"
Now it's my turn to hesitate. She's right. I know she's right. But I just can't admit it. I still can't admit the fact that this isn't all a dream. I just want to wake up to this all being a dream, to him being alive, to Charlie still at Welton, to Mr. Keating still working at the school, to everything being happy. I just want to go back in time to the play and tell him not to do it.
I look up at her. I should work on realizing how long it takes me to respond. "This is just a dream, isn't it?"
"No," she answers with a forlorn smile. "It's not, Knox. It's not a dream. You can't just wake up from this."
"It has to be a dream," I insist, letting the tears fall shamelessly this time and not holding them back. "It just has to be. Oh, God, somebody please wake me up," and I hit my head on the table.
"Knox, stop it," she snaps, putting forth her hand to make sure I don't try to lose more brain cells. "No matter how much you want it to be, it's not a dream. You can't wake up from this. It's not a dream." She just keeps repeating it over and over, and, even though I know it should be breaking my heart over and over, it's comforting in some mysterious way. That might just be her voice, though.
I drink the rest of my hot chocolate, and our food arrives. I don't want to eat it, but I do because I know it will make her feel better. It's rather funny that I'm the one in pain and I'm trying to comfort her.
After that small brunch, I get up to go to the bathroom, where I try to wash up and wipe away all the tears. I place my hands on the sides of the sink and look down at the running water. I want so badly to just vomit there like Todd did in the snow, but I can't even seem to heave properly. Besides, it's not like throwing up would make it better anyway. Just some temporary escape from the realm of reality.
I look up at the mirror and almost laugh at the face in front of me. I look so different from the Knox I remember. I look haggard and sick. I splash my face with water again but it barely helps. And, as I continue looking at that demented version of me, I want to cry so much. I want to yell, "Please, God, tell me this is all some messed-up dream! Tell me I'm still asleep! Tell me this is a dream! Please, God! Please!"
But I don't, and I can't, and I just allow myself to return to a state of natural breathing before I venture back to the restaurant and pay the check—it's kind of a date, I guess—and we make our way out into the snowy winter day.
"It'll get better," I hear her promise as we walk, holding hands.
I just nod. I know it won't… or at least not for a while.
"You want to go somewhere?" she asks morosely.
I shake my head no. I do, but nowhere that she'd be willing to go with me. I really want to just get out of here and away from Welton and all the memories that it brings. I know I can't, though. I can't run away or try to escape. That's exactly what Neil did, which makes it quite unappealing at the same time that it is appealing.
For a minute, I wonder if anyone would really notice that I disappeared, but I know the answer to that. Todd, more than all of us, needs help right now. Neil was the first person to ever truly accept him, his first real friend. I need to be there for him and for Pitts and Meeks. I can leave them, even if all I want to do is run away.
But I can't really stay here like this either. I don't know how I'll survive in this world now that everything is different, now that the one thing that made my life worth it is over—well, other than Chris.
Is this what we get for trying to live life to the fullest and be who we want to be instead of the people that others want us to be? Is this the retribution for trying to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life? Is this what happens when we all choke on the bone?
As we walk, I think, trying to find some logic in everything that's happening, but I can't. It's like Meeks said to Todd in the snow: "You can't explain it." He's right. It can't really be explained. It just is what it is, and there's nothing we can do about it.
But, if we really have no say in life, what's the point? If we just watch as our life passes us by and we're left in the dust, what's the point? Now I feel like Charlie when he questioned what we were doing at the meetings. Maybe he was right, though. If all we did was read poetry to each other, what the hell were we doing?
The Dead Poets Society is over. We're through, finished, never to start again until another generation comes. We've fallen apart now. Neil dead. Charlie expelled. Cameron a fink. Now it's just me, Todd, Pitts, and Meeks. It's all over for us. So where can we go from here?
When I look at Chris again with all her beauty and fear and worry for me—for me!—I know that I do want to stay here. For the others, for myself, but mostly for Chris. She's so wonderful that, even if I tried, I don't think I could possibly leave her behind. Maybe it was all worth it. If it weren't for Mr. Keating and the Society, I wouldn't have her.
Thanks so much for reading this. Please leave me at least a short review.