Title: You Never Know

Pen Name: TRDancer

Sense: Hearing

Genre: Angst

Characters: Bella

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You never really know what you have until it's gone.

It's something you hear most people who have gone deaf or blind later in life say—that they never truly appreciated the everyday sights and sounds of the world until they could no longer see or hear them.

I'd thought I knew what they meant, but I'd never truly understood.

Until now.

Lying in the forest, cheek pressed against freezing cold ground, listening to the leaves rustling in the trees and underneath me, everything seemed sharper. Every sound was too loud for my ears, the ground was too cold for my body, the dirt tasted foul in my mouth, the rotting leaves hidden beneath the freshly fallen ones smelled sickening, and the lantern hanging above my head was too bright, blinding me. So I closed my eyes, and that's when everything went numb.

And that was the way everything stayed for five whole months.

I went through the motions of everyday life, but I was not really living any longer. I tuned out people's voices to the point where they were just a murmur in the background, barely noticeable. I looked at things, but when I did all I could see was visions of a past life, people that were not really there. All of my senses were blocked up, all I could feel was numb. Nothing.

Time passed unevenly, in strange lurches and slow, dragging lulls. At times, I couldn't hear the ticking of the clock on the wall at all, and the silence made it seem as though no time were passing at all. At other times, each tick of the second hand echoed loudly in my ears, blocking everything else out, aching like the pulse of blood behind a bruise, keeping time with the steady beat of my heart. It seemed like an appropriate sense to be able to use fully, to be able to hear clearly the documenting of my time spent without him. It seemed impossible for time to pass when I felt like this. But pass it did.

You never really know what you have until it's gone.

You often hear people saying this at funerals or memorials, regretting the fact that they either never spent much time with the dead person, or they never paid enough attention, or they didn't realize just how 'blessed' they were to have so-and-so in their lives. It's often a combination of all three.

The difference between me and these people is the fact that the people they are mourning are generally dead. They haven't been told they aren't wanted, left behind as the one they love, the one that completes them, part of their very life, their soul, fades into the darkness, their back turned to them, leaving them to live alone, incomplete. The one I mourn still walks the earth, and will long after I am buried six feet under.

It doesn't make the statement any less true, though. I'd always taken him for granted, assuming he'd never leave me. We were parts of a whole, after all. Why would he leave me?

I should have known better.

I was only a weak human, one that it pained him to be around, no less. He was a vampire, capable of more than I could ever imagine. No sense in keeping me around.

So here I was, sentenced to a life living in the past, imagining how it would feel to have him still with me. To have his cold body pressed up against my warm one at night, to feel his arms wrap around me and pull me closer, his breath in my ear, and the whispered words. 'I love you, Bella.' To smell his sweet scent, taste his lips against mine again, see him standing before me in all his perfect glory. None of it could ever happen, of course. He didn't love me.

In some ways, I thought it would be better if he were dead. At least that way I wouldn't have to deal with the pain of my heart being ripped into pieces. I'd know where he was. I'd know he hadn't left me of his own free will. Maybe I could even manage to move on that way.

But that was not the truth.

He had left me, and I was perforated, a gigantic hole in my chest where he should have been, my feeling gone, taken with him to whatever far off place he had run to.

For I could not feel anything without him. Nothing but staggering pain and soothing numbness. I was blinded, just like I'd been when the lantern had shone in my eyes. The world was no longer a part of me. I was no longer a part of the world. I was only a part of Edward, and he had taken that part with him, leaving an empty shell behind.

I would do anything to feel whole again.

Dedicated to the memory of my grandmother.

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