Disclaimer: "Lost" is the property of ABC. Title from "Are You Ten Years Ago?" by Tegan and Sara. This was written for LJ's Lost Fanfiction Challenge, challenge #64 Inspired by...

Are You Ten Years Ago?

It's hard sometimes. Most of the time, actually. Kate has the distinct feeling that she spends most days avoiding certain thoughts, certain niggling doubts and worries. And then sometimes she can't avoid them, so she locks them away, locks her brain down, gets lost in something else, anything else. She's taken to reading much more these days. Romance, comedy, biography, history, fantasy (she stays away from sci-fi and mystery, and anything scientific is out of the question).

Days? Weeks. Months. Years. She spends years trying to forget. Better to forget. And she does a better job forgetting than she thought she could. She's never been good at it, really, but she sees Jack and thinks 'well at least I don't need pills and booze to stop remembering' (not exactly true, because sometimes she just can't shut her memories off and several stiff drinks is the only remedy. No pills, though. No drugs).

Somehow, the big reminders aren't a problem. They loom so large in her life that she forces them to take on other significances, other roles, other origins. And sometimes she even manages to pretend that none of it ever happened at all, that she is a normal woman with a normal life. Pretending -- Kate's always been good at that.

No, it's the small things. The trivial, the minute, even stupid things, that jar her back to remembering (one time it was coconuts in the grocery store. A giant pile of them stacked next to the bananas and mangos. She laughed, hanging over her cart and drawing looks from other shoppers. She had to, even though it wasn't funny). These are the reminders that she can't avoid, because she never knows what they'll be. Maybe that's why Jack uses pills. It's the only way to numb yourself to the daily jolts, always unexpected, always different.

Sometimes she just gets sick of it, and then she gets sick of herself. And then she realizes that's not right, she's been sick of herself, sick with herself, ever since she built this oh-so-normal life for herself. That's a big reminder, though. One she forces down. If she doesn't, her whole world threatens to fall away, and she doesn't want to find out what happens then.

She's here now; this is the present. This is who she is. She won't change that.