Author's Note: This is my first songfic. Hope you like. ;D
Disclaimer: I don't own Harvest Moon or any of its characters, and I don't own More Than a Memory by Garth Brooks.
It'd been so long since she left me that I wasn't even sure she even existed. Almost everyone I talked to told me that it was all a nightmare, that none of it really happened. They told me I'd forget eventually.
I didn't believe them.
How could I, when right after they told me that, I'd picked up the phone and dialed a number, only to hang it up again? I knew she didn't live there anymore, and even if she did, why would she want to talk to me anyway?
A couple of weeks after she left, I had gone to her house to see if she was there. I had been in denial, heartbroken, and dazed. I had gone to work and absentmindedly hammered away at the forge, not really paying attention, until my grandfather kicked me out. And so I had wandered, and somehow ended up at her farm, even though I'd sworn never to go there again. I had broken down in front of her house, crying, calling out her name, hoping she would come out of the house like she always had, until I simply couldn't anymore. I had finally hauled myself back to the inn, waking up my roommate, Cliff.
"What's wrong?" he'd said quietly, though I think he already knew.
"Claire…" I started. "Why would she leave me like that?" I held back a sob. "We were going to get married…"
"I know," he'd said. "It'll be alright." And I was foolish enough to believe him.
A year after that not much had changed. At least, not for the better.
Claire had been a writer. She'd written me more 'love letters' than I could count. Not like love letters were really my thing, but they were sweet, I guess. I mean, I liked to read them when she couldn't be there, or at night before I went to sleep.
But I couldn't stand it anymore.
Since when was I so dependent on someone? I'd left my parents in the city for my grandfather, who wasn't much better, but at least I was learning something helpful, something I would be able to use in life! But no, I wasn't ever good enough,, not for my parents, not for Gramps, not for anybody. Except Claire.
Or so I had thought.
Until she up and left without as much as a goodbye!
So I burned her letters. Every single one of the damn things. And I did it on her farm, too! I laughed as I watched them burn and I could've sworn I was going crazy. Good thing Gramps wasn't there or he might've sent me to the loony bin back in the city. When I finished that sacrilege I went back to my room, took her pictures down and threw them out, thankful Cliff wasn't there or he wouldn't have let me do it. But he wasn't, so I did. And I laughed the whole time.
"Take that, Claire! I don't need you! You think you can just up and leave on me, and I'll break down?! Well I sure proved you wrong!" I continued laughing, though my voice cracked when I went on my small tirade.
"Gray?" a voice said behind me. I turned around, quickly quieting myself and reaching to pull my hat down over my eyes, only to find that it wasn't there. Ann looked at me with worry, but I wouldn't meet her gaze. "Are you alright?" I nodded. "You don't look alright. When was the last time you washed yourself up?" I just looked at her blankly and she shook her head and went back downstairs.
I walked over to the mirror and saw what she meant. My hair was a mess, my eyes were bloodshot, my clothes were wrinkled- I looked like hell, and I just laughed. I didn't remember laughing like that before ever in my entire life.
"I've really hit rock bottom, haven't I?" I said, shaking my head at myself. I dug around for my hat and plopped it down on my head and went downstairs, perched myself at one of the barstools, and ordered a drink.
Before I knew it, I was wasted. I'd never drank that much! I was so drowsy, but I didn't want to go to sleep. I knew that I'd dream of Claire, but I didn't want to. I didn't want to think about her ever again.
But, you know, I drank too much and I ended up sleeping anyways, because I passed out at the bar for the first time in my life. But not before I had a total breakdown in front of everyone in the damn place. I don't remember much, just that I was heading to my room and I fell, and Cliff told me later that I was begging the Goddess to make it stop. He didn't ask me what it was I was talking about; we both knew full well I was talking about Claire's haunting of my dreams that I complained to him about almost every morning. The next morning would be no different.
It's been over two years and everyone else has moved on. Most of them wouldn't remember who I was talking about if I asked them who Claire was right now. Or at least, they'd pretend not to. Jack had moved in to her old farm, and he filled the empty space and pushed her out of existence for everyone else.
Not for me though.
I'm sitting in my room right now with the phone in my hand. I've already dialed her number again, but it's not her who answers. It's Jack.
"Hello?" he says when he picks up. I don't say anything but just hang up the phone.
Cliff is looking at me, worried, but he knows better than to say anything.
I'm finally working again, but Gramps won't let me work more than a couple days a week. The littlest thing can set me off, and I'm 'just too dangerous.' Oh well. He's paying for me to stay here, and that's more than he did for me when I was actually sane. I get up and look myself over in the mirror. I don't really care how I look, but for the villagers' sakes I decide to make myself presentable. I'm getting tired of them looking at me with pity, and how they often avoid me like a disease-ridden animal. I'm determined to get things back to the way they used to be.
So I go to work, but I don't pay attention for most of the day. It passes quickly, without so much as a word from Gramps, and soon I find myself outside his closed shop. I start to wander, and I walk by Claire's-I mean, Jack's- farm, and look, just to reassure myself that Claire hasn't come back. Deep down inside, I really want her to, even though she ditched me like that, but I only see Jack working the fields. I sigh, relieved and disappointed at the same time, and continue around the bend.
Lost in thought, I wander down the path slowly with my hands shoved in my pockets. When I finally look up I see a tall building in front of me, one that I haven't been to in quite a while. Since even before Claire left.
I'm at the library.
I walk up to the door and push it open cautiously, a little bell alerting Mary to my presence. She starts at my entrance and looks up at me, her glasses now at an odd angle. She blushes at me and straightens her glasses.
"H… Hi Gray," she says. "You haven't been here in awhile… it's… um… nice to see you back." She blushes more, but I just shrug, fighting back a smile at her awkwardness. "How are you feeling?"
"Better," I reply, lifting my hat from my eyes a little bit, and she looks back down at the book she was reading when I walked in.
"That's good." There's a pause as I walk over to the bookshelf and scan over the titles absently, feeling Mary's eyes on my back. She doesn't say anything as I pick out a book and plop down in the nearby chair. I read, or at least try to, for a few hours before I finally slam the book shut, unable to focus. I stand and put the book back.
"Um…" Mary starts. I look at her, urging her to continue. "So… why are you here so late?" I turn around and look over the books again, and then I sigh.
"I don't want to sleep," I say. I pause, but before I can stop myself, continue. "Every time I go to sleep, I dream of that damn girl. It's like… she waits for me there. It's hell to sleep at night." Another pause. "I don't understand… what did I do?" My hands are clenching and my throat is closing up, and turning around, I see I'm frightening Mary. "Sorry…" I mumble, looking away, embarrassed that my emotions can get to me so easily. To my surprise, Mary stands and walks over to me.
"You know, it's not your fault," she says quietly. She's the first person to talk to me about it besides Cliff since Claire left. She's standing a few feet away, too close for my hat to hide my eyes because I'm nearly a full head taller than her. She looks straight into them with her own, and I feel like she's looking into my soul. I can't even bring myself to look away. "You're a really nice guy, Gray, and there isn't a thing wrong with you." She pauses and looks away, blushing, considering what to say next. "Well, besides your choice vocabulary, that is."
To my surprise, I actually laugh, the first normal laugh I've had in a really long time, and she joins me, giggling softly. She looks up at me again, smiling slightly, and I can't help but return it, my first genuine smile in a long time.
"Well, actually…" she begins apologetically. "We're closing in a few minutes… Sorry…" I laugh again, indicating that there's nothing to be sorry about and I shake my head, walking to the door. I step outside and turn around. Mary is standing in the doorway, one hand on the frame and the other on the door, ready to lock it behind me. I smile at her again and she returns the gesture sheepishly, not meeting my eyes.
"Thanks," I say simply before I head home, thinking of Mary the whole way.
People still say she's only in my head. And since she's moved, I guess she has been.
Everything they've said all along has been true.
And I know now that, with some help, I will forget.
Author's Note: So how do you like it? R&R, people!