Author's Note: So this week in syndication they replayed the infamous Howard Epps episode which ended in "The Line" and while I have contemplated the line before and what it genuinely means for our favorite duo for the first time I noticed something. I hope you enjoy!
He walked alone through the park. Although this was usually his sanctuary with his son, he found that often wandering alone with his own thoughts could help him find answers. Suddenly he found himself at a park bench and he sat down. Trying to make heads and tails of the mess he had created for himself…
This is where the line had been drawn. He usually wasn't so forward with her. Normally he was either evasive or thinly veiled but never direct. He knew that specifics of his affection would send her fleeing in the opposite direction. But the line, that was something that he couldn't risk her misconstruing. The Line was definitive. It had to be.
But it wasn't for the reason she thought.
He wanted to protect her. It was perhaps his greatest internal calling. To be her defender. There was nothing he wouldn't do for her. He would kill for her, and he had. In his heart he knew that he would die for her. Everything came secondary to her safety, her happiness, hell even her smile. And that was in essence the problem. A metaphorical line could not protect her from the dangers. Cam had happened because it was her job; working with killers would always create risk. Cam was an excuse, a copout.
Of all his faults he was at his center a monogamous type, a one woman guy. He was faithful. Except when it came to Her. For her everyone else took a backseat, no other woman could ever have the piece of his heart that already belonged to her. He was disgusted with himself, even as Cam, the woman he supposedly loved, lay possibly dying his first thought was always for his Bones. It was her life that mattered.
His words had been awkward, but his meaning clear. You know what happened to Cam happened because we had a personal relationship…
People that work in high risk situations can't be involved because it leads to things…like what happened
…There is this line and we can't cross it
… you know what I am saying…
He had said we intentionally he needed her to know that the line applied to her as well. Hell the line was all about her. Even though through the whole tirade he was never able to meet her eyes. The eyes that always made him fluster and say things he knew he shouldn't.
He resigned himself to being forever caught in the whirlpool. They would never be enough for each other. Yet no one else could ever be enough either. His past suffocated his ability to be worthy of her. Hers negated her ability to trust him. His heart would have to be forever trapped in a state of suspended animation. It was hers alone…but never given. Like a gift that sits wrapped beneath the tree long after Christmas because you haven't had the chance to visit the intended recipient. A gift that essentially belonged to no one.
He had wished for her ability to compartmentalize to rationalize to reduce his relationships to meeting biological urges. Then he could have it all, or at least pretend to. He could fill his life with all the Rebeccas and Cams and Tessas of the world without having to give any of them his heart. The heart that was no longer his to give. But he wasn't built that way, he could never reduce a woman to a plaything. He was too selfish. He wanted it all, despite it all he still believed in love. The line had been formed in a desperate attempt to break off from Her. To find balance for himself to try and sever the strings she held on his heart. All it did was entangle everything so that it pulled on his heart all the more painfully…
Over the past two years he thought of this park bench often. He haunted his dreams, and would even creep in during waking hours. Each time it played out the same, each time he made the same mistake. Each time he said the same words that sealed his fate. One rash decision, an attempt to hide from the truth had brought him to his knees.
At the time he believed that he did indeed love her. He hadn't a clue. The evolution of their relationship had transcended anything that he could define. Over the past two years he had practically lived the life of a monk. He thought the line would allow him to get the needed distance, but no matter what he tried no other woman compared. How did he bed one woman while his mind, his heart, his soul belonged to another? Four years of close interaction had bonded them in ways that no one could understand. It wasn't a work relationship and it certainly wasn't a friendship although they had those things as well.
The line had become a jumbled mess, as if it had been drawn the sand the wind and sea had taken their toll and really all that was left was the memory of it. Should that be enough to hold him, to keep him to prevent him from reaching across? Could she still see the line, did her scientific mind recall its exact location, would she let him come to her anyway?
He looked up, and watched the Merry-go-round spin before him. He thought of his son, how he claimed he was now too old for the merry-go-round. How quickly time passes, as a father he had learned that his greatest regrets were not living in the moment and missing time with his son, memories he couldn't get back. It was the same with her. But it didn't have to be.
She had spoken to him many times about evolution. Could an invisible line change as well?
His internal monologue suddenly interrupted by the weight and warmth of someone joining him on the bench. There was recognition without even a passing glance. She had always known instinctively knew where to find him. He reached an arm over her shoulder which she leaned into silently comforting them both. Sitting on the bench watching a merry go round wordless he finally had an answer.
He nearly chuckled to himself at how clear it had suddenly become. The only line that existed was his own stubbornness his own blindness. How could he have ever thought that she would acknowledge a fictitious metaphoric line?
It couldn't be seen or measured. It wasn't scientific it wasn't rational. It was built on emotions and doubt. She had listened to him that day, knowing that he needed to say those things. That it was his way of coping.
For her the line had never existed.
It was never really there at all.