Here it is, the end.
We can begin again
Shed our skin,
Let the sun shine in,
At the edge of the ocean
We can start over again
An Ocean of Answers
She's sick of this town.
She's sick of seeing the same tired faces.
She's sick of eating at the same blasé restaurants.
She wants to get away for a little while.
She desires the feeling of being just another face in the crowd, even if only for a few days.
Because in this town, everyone knows who she's supposed to be and everyone knows who he is.
And she is trying awfully hard to keep up the pretense that everything is okay.
Everyone else seems so normal, so satisfied.
She knows that it is impossible that everyone around her is content, but if they aren't, they are doing a damn good job of hiding it.
It doesn't matter that it could all be an act.
It doesn't matter what inner struggles they are hiding, the fact that they can hide them speaks volumes.
Try as she might she can't even fake happiness anymore.
She takes solace in the fact that he is also incapable of projecting a false demeanor.
She's not depressed, she's definitely not suicidal, she's just not happy.
The only genuine moments are those spent with him.
Whoever said love conquers all is an idiot.
Love is supposed to be easy.
It's supposed to give you blinders to the ugly side of the world.
She's only ever loved two men.
Instead of blinders, she feels that her loves have been magnifying glasses.
There's nothing like watching your husband die to show you how cruel the world is.
There's nothing like watching the love of your life struggle with a handicap and an addiction everyday to show you how unfair life really is.
"I think we should go somewhere."
He looks at her skeptically.
Such a literal man.
It's a Sunday evening and she is stretched atop him, kissing lightly at his throat, his hands resting on her thighs.
"No, I mean I think we should take a trip, get out of town for a while."
He rolls her off him gently,
"I can think of a hundred other things I'd rather do." He smirks before lowering his head to her neck, scratching her with his scruff.
"Just think about it okay?"
His hands slip lower, his tone is darker, the playfulness gone from his voice.
"I'm always thinking."
She has to close her eyes when she feels his fingers working.
She wonders what its like to be unable to turn off your mind. She can lose herself for awhile in a book or movie.
He is not like this.
She notices the dozen or so books and magazines strewn about his home; all on different pages, all unfinished, his interest lost.
She now understands the monster trucks, the motorcycle riding, the drug use.
Because he can't dilute the potency of his thoughts, he overloads his senses, trying to edge the troubling from the forefront of his mind.
She has deduced that it must be unpleasant to have his mind; with all the ugly things he's tried to stop its working.
She opens her eyes to see him positioning himself into her.
She has to wince and a little noise escapes her.
His hand rubs along her ribs, relaxing her body.
This moment never changes from the first time.
The intensity never dulled, the twinge of pleasurable pain never lessened.
The sense of fulfillment and pride she gets from pleasing him exceeds any other accomplishment in her life.
She never thought she'd be that kind of woman.
His movements are slow; he's trying to draw this out.
She opens her eyes to see him staring down at her.
She likes looking down and watching their movements.
She knows it turns him on.
This pace is maddening.
She puts her hands on his hips, trying to hurry his torturously slow movements.
His hands grab hers. He twines their fingers and forces them down, pinned to the sheets.
She can feel something rising inside herself, his mouth is on hers, his hands on her own, his stomach slapping against hers, the knowledge that in some way he loves
her, it is all too much.
I'd let you take me anywhere.
She was there when he found out.
Kutner killed himself.
Hers were the first pair of eyes his sought out.
He dismissed Foreman, Taub, and 13 with a wave of his hand.
She turned to leave too, but his hand grabbed her.
She had opened her mouth, trying to find something comforting to say, but he speaks first.
"We need to get into Kutner's apartment."
She wasn't expecting that.
This seems inexplicable.
He doesn't deal with this type of thing very well.
He cannot comprehend that he missed something.
Some vital sign that could have clued him into Kutner's feelings.
They don't sit together at Kutner's funeral.
'No need to raise any eyebrows'- he'd said.
She knows he's not okay.
No one is okay.
She is expecting cold distance for awhile.
She will weather it.
She has learned how.
She has been through enough of his storms to know that they do, in time, pass.
Like the changing weather
Watching the release of the ashes is when she is frozen.
She looks across the crowd of people to where she knows he is standing.
All dressed up in black, she searches for blue.
And there he is, staring at the ground, not at the sky like everyone else.
The crowd disperses, people leaving the scene, obstructing her view of him for fleeting seconds.
When he reappears, their eyes connect.
He nods towards the car.
They leave together.
She slides into the passenger seat. Her head turned away from him, staring out the window.
She is expecting an impenetrable wall built between them on the car's center console, that only time will bring down.
So, she is startled when she feels his hand on her knee.
There is a look in his eyes she has never seen.
"Let's go someplace." He says.
Somewhere along the last year of her life, she lost herself.
She never thought she'd be this dependent on another person.
She never thought so much of her well-being would rest on the shoulders of this man.
She's lost a lot in her life, but she never thought her principles would be amongst the lost.
She euthanized a patient; she's sacrificed relationships, and endangered her career.
When Kutner died, something snapped in him, in her.
They had to get away.
They rented a beach house on the Connecticut shore.
They bought one-way tickets, not putting on a time limit.
She had always found the ocean to be medicinal.
And after all that has happened, there was some healing to be done.
She has never seen him quite like this.
He seems relaxed, at peace with himself, and it's slightly disconcerting to her how much she would sacrifice to get him to this state.
She is quiet.
He notices her faraway look.
"That frown you're wearing might as well say, 'I've got something uncomfortable on my mind.'"
Damn, she thought she'd learned to mask her expressions around him.
She shakes her head trying to deter him, but of course that only spurs his curiosity.
He props himself up on an elbow.
"Now, I'm not exactly sure what to do in this situation, it's usually the other way around."
He's attempting to make a joke at his own expense.
She has to give him something.
"I don't know," she starts.
"This past year, I've done some things I'm not proud of. I've compromised everything I thought I was," she stops, "This isn't making any sense is it?"
She is dancing around the obvious words and he's pretending he doesn't know what she means.
He changed her.
She sits up, draws her knees up to her chest.
"There are so many things I wanted for myself, and now I don't want them anymore. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't know myself anymore."
She observes the effects of her words as he soaks them in.
He sits all the way up.
His shirt, his eyes, the ocean, the sky, all blue.
"There are two types of people in the world." She looks to him as he begins to speak, but his eyes are on the tides.
"People like you," he begins again, "are long drawn out confessions. Giving themselves up bit by bit, piece by piece, until there's nothing left to give, no puzzle left to
She has contemplated the fact that she may only ever be a complexity to him.
A broken beauty queen, a walking enigma; a phenomenon just too anomalous for him to pass up.
Walking enigma or not, as of right now, he's all she's got. He continues,
"Then there are people like me."
The corner of his mouth turns up a little, "geniuses of compression. People like me can compartmentalize, rationalize; reduce things to their smallest.
We fear change enough to get ahead of it. Runaway before it catches us."
He brushes sand off the blanket they are sitting on.
She wrinkles her nose when she feels stray grains float across her skin, tingling as they go.
"People like you try to run, but can't ever seem to make it out the door without that last damning look over their shoulder."
Her dying husband, the excessive caring, her inability to refuse him.
He knows, she knows, they know it all, have heard it all before.
He isn't done yet.
"People like me don't plan on meeting people like you."
He picks at the fraying seams of the blanket.
"Because when we do," she's hanging on his word, "our flaws are reflected in you, and become obviously apparent."
She furrows her brow, trying to follow.
Seeing her, being with her, shows him all the things he would have to change in order to deserve her.
A mirror of sorts
But mirrors only show the physical.
She has no physical scars.
When will he see that they are on the same level?
That neither is unworthy of the other?
He lays flat on his back, changing the view from sea to sky.
"You know who you are; it's just not who you thought you'd be."
She lies with him.
His arm curls around her, dragging her up against his body.
Crisp air blows strands of her hair across his chest.
He is right.
And she is letting go.
If they have learned anything from being with each other, it is that they don't have all the answers.
He knows he can't save everyone.
She now knows not everyone needs saving.
She's going to let her life come together by itself.
All she needs is time.
She mumbles against his shirt, "I'm glad we came here."
Eyes closed, he nods, "Me too."
She thinks they are going to be okay.
As she lies next to the source of most of her thoughts, she knows that somewhere along this road, with him, she'll find herself again.
Thanks to everyone who followed this story, I hope I did them justice.