Word Count: 2543
AN: Sorry for the wait. I have no internet. Excuses, excuses. I don't own the characters. Blah blah blah.
Chapter Seven: The Final Letter
My forever Love,
That's what it all comes down to, you know? In the end. Love.
And transformations. Don't forget. It's all a transformation.
Remember and never, never forget that.
You've come a long way to find me, haven't you?
And so here I am. At last. On paper.
I wish I could give you more. More of me. More of us. Just more.
But I am already lost, was lost months, days, years before you found this. And I'm sorry, but I needed to give you the knowledge.
And the love. Knowledge and love are power and now, whether you realize it or not, you have both.
Are you wondering why you're here, the tiny little town of Browning. I'll tell you what brought me to live here. I figure if letters were good enough for Elizabeth, then they're good enough for me. And so I came across this town on my travels and when I saw the tree in the middle of town, I had to stop.
I'm here. On paper. At least.
It was, is, will hopefully always be glorious. The tree, that is. It didn't, doesn't belong, and yet neither do I. Not in this world.
It was all so simple.
A simple tree that has survived through the harshest winters, a simple tree that glows moonlight and eats sunshine. It's cold here, but this simple tree gives warmth to me.
And so I write. And here I am.
The me on paper. At least. The me in your heart. I hope.
And you know want to know why?
Why I wrote all this? Why you? Why? Why? Why?
I have very few answers. I apologize for that.
You must think me cruel. Unfair. Selfish.
You are probably right.
I left normal about a quarter mile back to drive through the electric sunflower parade that marches through my brain.
It's beautiful here. In my brain. Maybe not the tumor the doctors see, but from where I stand, it's beautiful here. Where nothing works and everything makes sense. If only to me.
What was my point? Focus, Bella. It's hard sometimes. Focus, that is. But for you, I would move mountains. If only I could do more than write. Even then it comes out a jumble.
I suppose I write because I want to remember and because words hold more truth than your own memories sometimes, don't you think? If they don't now, at least they will some day when hands and faces are wrinkly and details are fuzzy. Hands and faces and details, save yours.
It's a curse, isn't it? Always knowing in exact detail where and when? Each line, each misplaced hair, a detail you won't ever, can't ever, won't ever forget.
I write because I'm afraid of forgetting. Of me forgetting. Of others forgetting me. Like I was just occupied space for a while there.
I am very fucking afraid of that.
And everyday, I lose myself. To the disease that eats away at my time, what little I have left anyway.
I was wondering though... Do the people I love lose me too?
I am a ball of contradictions these days. I am terrified of you reading all this and knowing me. Or not knowing me. I am terrified of you loving me. Or not.
This is, after all, only the ghost of me.
That's all I'll be by the time you get this. A ghost. An imprint of light, lost in the shadows.
Maybe one day, someone will ask you if you knew me. I may not be afraid to die but I am afraid your answer will be not anymore.
But you do. Know me, that is. You saw my soul just as I saw yours and while it may have been more years than I care to count ago, I know that you know.
I know you won't forget.
Even if you could.
When I found out, found out I was sick, found out that there was nothing that could be done, I went to my favorite tree, this tree that glows moonlight and eats sunshine and just thought.
Because I found out and was found out.
You can close your eyes to the things you don't want to see. But you can't close your heart to the things that you don't want to feel.
But life is good here. I find comfort in this quiet, small town life. Alone in my room, this town, alone by this tree that doesn't belong, I have good memories. And thoughts of you will always find me. Always. They embed themselves in the tree, so that I can almost feel, almost fucking feel you.
If you are there now, can you feel it too?
I write what I know, long, meaningless poems about nothing and everything, about the man who left me behind, about the world I'm leaving behind, about new prospects and old feelings, about everything in between. It's not merely poems or letters I compose in that tattered notebook beneath the tree, but symphonies of color and darkness. Light beyond light. Not necessarily beautiful, but real and true. If thoughts can be those things. That must be beautiful to someone I imagine.
And it is.
Before I got really sick, I taught a group of teenagers the meaning of life. I wonder where they are now. I wonder if they took my words to heart and found their own transformations.
I wonder if my tree is still there.
Most thoughts are fleeting, any and all unwritten words are short lived. Whether you want them to be or not. They are. We are. I am. But there is something about an idea wrapped firmly around the mind, any mind, as it unravels and pirouettes through the tip of someone's favorite pen, or marks an impression by means of a dusty old typewriter. Each brush of the pen or stroke of the key leaves a sheet of tangibility. It's art. Pure. Simple.
I met a girl who wanted to be an artist. Except her paintbrush was a razor and the canvas, her wrist. All great art is soaked in blood, she told me.
I told her that words were too. I think she believed me. I told her words are tangible, if you can find the right ones.
The ones you or I can hold and touch. Forever.
It assures me that somewhere, anywhere, something can last forever. I will last forever.
I gave her the same words I have given you. I gave her the word forever and her art became beauty. Without blood.
It became someones happily-ever-after.
Just not mine.
Oftentimes, I found myself so focused on the happily-ever-after. Not that I want it. Not that it is something attainable but I fixate on it so much, I miss the signs. How to tell who to trust and who to renounce, who will stand by me and who will turn me away.
You would stand by me to the end.
If only you had known, right?
Fucking if only...
Don't be bitter, be better. My counselor told me that. I told her it sounds cheesy. I told her there is no being better for me.
There is only death.
Perhaps that is in and of it's self a happy ending.
Because there is a certain amount of beauty in transformations.
Maybe happy endings don't have anything to do with affirmation and rejection. Perhaps they do. Perhaps they are a solitary thing, a solo mission to pick up the pieces and start over again. Perhaps happily-ever-afters are freedom.
Perhaps they are simply stored on a course that you refused to fucking give up hope on.
Until, one day it is time. Time to give up, to let the past remain where it is.
The curtain theaters draw close and the lights dim and flicker and you realize... It may not be what you were expecting, but it is yours.
My whole life is a fucking flicker. At least, that's what it comes down to.
But as I told you before, it's all a transformation.
Somethings more than others.
I feel like I'm waiting for something that isn't going to happen.
But it's been too fucking long and there are only what ifs and if onlys left.
But there are also dreams and wishes.
I wish you could taste me. Drink my soul into you and understand. Understand that my soul, is yours.
I think perhaps you already do. Perhaps some small part of you always knew.
I wish I could meet you all over again. I want to shake your hand and say, "Hello. We need each other."
But yesterday remains yesterday and it will never be the same again.
Would you really want it too?
The truth is there is always someone who will be smarter, prettier, nicer. Always going to be better. Always going to be there. For you.
And I'm jealous. Again.
Because you are you. And that's all you need to be. Promise me you'll hold out for someone who makes you feel. Really feel.
I want you to feel it all. I want you to soak it into your pores and realize that you are worth it.
Realize that you matter.
Realize that the waif-like girl never knew. Never knew you, never knew the beauty of a simple kiss. And her life is gray, whether she knows it or not.
And the sharks that never truly leave, will never know, will never know so many colors.
My life is full of color. I made sure of that, but I also know what is missing in my rainbow. That one indescribable shade that is, will always be, you. There are so many colors, Jasper and I intend to enjoy what I can for the rest of my life. What's left of it at least.
The only thing missing is you.
I think you are the only thing I've ever truly missed.
I wish I would have, could have followed you back then. And I would've, you know. If you had asked. I'd do it the space between heartbeats. Not just because I wanted to or wanted to be yours, but quite simply, because you are you.
Do you understand?
Have you figured out what we neglected to see, what we started in a cheap motel nowhere near home? Truth be told, I didn't want to see. You belonged to her then. Her and not me. Never me.
Angela told me after you left that we could have had something more. More than most. Greater than most. Greater than you and I. She said she could see it in our eyes. And eyes tell all.
Angela was always the poet I wished I could be. Angela. I shall miss her too. I hope she knows. Knows love and beauty and transformations. She deserves it.
All of it and so much more.
Will you tell her?
We both know that life can change with every breath you take. Even if it's your last. We know this, we've felt it.
And this, my love is all really happening. And I can't take it back anymore than you can.
If only we told the truth.
Everybody lies, you see.
I did and you did and they did. Everybody fucking lies and the real question is what are they lying about today?
Me, I'm lying to myself.
I do that a lot. Lie and wish and dream.
It's all I have now.
So what to do?
You tell me. Even if this is a dream. I'll follow you. I would've then and wish I could now. So let's pretend.
Let's pretend the world was different, and we were different. Would we get our happily-ever-after?
Let's pretend on Mondays, it was just another winter on Fourth Street but summer in Barcelona and we would drink cheap wine and roll our own cigarettes. This is significant. Rolling their own cigarettes.
Let's pretend on Tuesdays I liked to count the stars. 1001. 1002. 1003 until I became lost in your eyes. You liked to count my heartbeat, thump, thump, thump until the rhythm of the count, the beat of our hearts blended. Became one.
Let's pretend on Wednesdays we would stay up until the sun rose and sleep until it set again.
Let's pretend on Thursday morning, the earth was still flat and we would walk along the edge and dance and jump into the infinity of the universe.
Let's pretend on Friday nights when we were fifteen we would fuck in the bed of your truck, parked deep in the cornfield off I-95. Sometimes we made love. Sometimes. You always tasted of vanilla pipe tobacco and moonlight. I knew, just knew, that if I could mix your scent into the Northern Lights that Mikey sold on the last Thursday of every month, that we would be able to follow the sandman and sneak into dreams.
Sneak in, as if it was just another R-rated movie.
Let's pretend it was.
Let's pretend on Saturdays we laughed. We sat under the tree and stared deeply into each others eyes and the world was ours and ours alone. And somewhere, in the sunlight we found true beauty in laughter.
Let's pretend on Sundays we talked to god who always listened but was never really there.
I wish we could pretend forever.
Even in my dreams, I have nightmares.
You see years later, the cornfield would become a mall and we would drift apart.
Years later, Fourth street would be renamed and Barcelona would be a fantasy.
Years later, when we could afford good wine and found it easier to buy our own cigarettes, when stars and heartbeats and infinity were all things that could no longer be calculated.
Years later, when laughter became a novelty and god became a memory we would roll their own cigarettes and dream... Just in case the other still followed the sandman.
For you, I always would.
Because dreams are all I have left. So let's keep pretending.
Just say the words and mean them. Let me look into your eyes and know them. Eyes tell all, remember? Tell me and I'll follow. Do you have any idea how hard that is for me to say (again? I have been near here before, in a different life). Look into my eyes and know: tell me and I'll follow. Whichever direction you decide, pull (or push) me, I'll follow. I promise. Take my hand and I'll follow your lead.
Where do we go from here, my love?
We go forward. We embrace the past and never forget, it all a transformation.
And so,for what I fear is the last time, I give you my love, my heart and soul.
They were always yours anyways.
Don't forget to live. These letters have been my release, I hope you find yours.
I love you forever. You know that, right?
In this life and beyond,
AN: Don't kill me yet! I'm sorry for making you wait so long and I keep getting the feeling I'm missing something in this, so if you have any questions, drop me a line and I'll try to answer them.
One more chapter to go...