Hi everybody! I'm a young writer, and that's is my first Scrubs Story: for me it's a JD/Cox, but it can also work as tale of simple friendship. The quotation is from a sweet and beautiful song by Owl City: that's curious, 'cause I usually listen to Metal music and not Pop, but when I found this one, I immediately thought about my two favourite doctors; and I chose it also because the piece is called "Vanilla Twilight", and this detail remembered our Vanilla Bear... but these are my crazy mind's opinions, so it doesn't matter: all the important words are there, below the title.
Bye bye, Brigit
My Blossom to Foster
"But drenched in Vanilla twilight,
I'll sit on the front porch all night,
Waist deep in thought because when I think of you
I don't feel so alone."
Vanilla Twilight - Owl City
The soft meadows of the cemetery, under the balmy glow of the vernal sun, irradiate a vivid, dewy lightness; around the thick, silent crowd, trembling drops of frost sparkle like opal flakes among the wet grass. Quivers of sobs and devastated moans shudder in the thin air, softly shaking the hypnotic harangue of the solemn priest, osseous and dark against the amber wood of the coffin.
Doctor Perry Cox, motionless on his chair, was barely aware of them.
From the first moment in which he has arrived at that discreet hill, he has felt a fierce intolerance, a lethal, absolute grudge towards the glaring tears, the uproarious plaints, the uncontrolled whinings of that rabble of friends, relatives, ex-patients: his passion is so furious and so devastating that the only way that he could imagine not to burst, not to sweep the people around him with the violence of his own furor is to barricade himself in that rigid composure, that factitious severity that pierces his face like an iron mask. What overwhelms him, what arouses that painful, cold wrath of his is the sensation of pointlessness, the empty formality of every exterior manifestation of pain, in front of the dizzy, sidereal, nearly obscene grief that resounds in him like a hollow abyss. They weren't there, when his face faded in the bloodless phlegm of death. When for the first time he cried beyond those diaphanous, too unreal fingers. When he heard to be sick, and his eyes trembled a little, just for a moment.
He died three days ago.
In the very instant in which his life cleared, the world seemed to flutter, to suddenly burn in a white, inhuman emptiness; as if the whole universe stopped blazing, squirming, breathing, and there wasn't anything left except that still,cruel land of implacable glasses. From that time, Perry's eyes the light didn't warm the shades anymore, the same peaceable, rich intensity didn't sweeten anymore the raw, almost ruthless solidity of the shapes, as if the kid sliding away deprived the world of every kindness, every sweetness.
But it isn't simply sorrow; the suffering mixes with a dark, painfully violent sensation, that embitters his fury and poisons his frustration: the horror, so natural, so human, in front of the unbearable greatness of that loss, and the indecent brutality of that disgusting disease.
He remembers the thin figure devoured by the illness, that fierce, cruel weakness that have sharpened the clean features of his face, the austere pallor that have drained away the tenderness of his cheeks, his life that had slipped away in raging, furious, sudden jerks, as if a greedy and brutal hand had teared a part of it every time, without the delicateness, without the respect which was up to that innocent, extraordinary man. For some reason, it seems startling, almost obscene, that such a torment had caught just him, that his young, stirring body had parched with frightening rapidity, that it really could blow out with the unaware, fatal facilitate of a green stem felled by the wind or a faded bud, dragging in its fall the exceptional, luminous intellect hedged in its flesh and its bones.
Dr. Cox contracts his jaw, shutting his hands around the frail rose in his lap until the fine thorns prickle his fingers, sorely. At least, the others, Gandhi, Carla, the kid's family, have always hung on to their faith, the confidence in some benevolent,superior entity, arming themselves with a balance that he has to search convulsively in every fragment of his soul, digging with anxious, rough urgency; and at some point, they have been supported by a sort of strong-minded, honest resignation, a sincere certainty that [the non serve] death isn't a real end, and that a wonderful, peaceful existence is waiting for their beloved beyond that extreme instant, which they can't annihilate but which they can make tactful, even mild. He hasn't. He hasn't looked for a pitiful death, or a serene agony. He hasn't fought to gratefully conquer few more days for the kid, but to win, to bring him back at his side, struggling with all his strength, his courage, his dedication for one of the few individuals that are deeply part of his life. So, when the long, piercing beep of the heart monitor prickled the wan shadows of the hospital, his hope fractured in a freezing storm with even major harshness, even major dreadful disbelief. He failed, and today he gropes, wounded and bond, in his now bare battlefield.
The contrite, spelled murmuring of the priest suddenly breaks off, and Perry fights back a vague start: a squad of dark-dressed men take their place around the pothole, lowering slowly the slender sarcophagus in the damp earth, under the heavy, overflowing wreaths. Before him, he catches a glimpse of Turk's face, soft of tears, while Carla's firm, slightly quivering grasp guides him towards the grave, among the downhearted crowd that is rising from the chair. Perry stands up, stiffening up the shoulders with the defiant hardness that he is used to showing to hide every shake. Although he exerts, beyond the biological cessation of body's devices he can see only emptiness and absence and silence, and despite all his grief and his rancorous fury, Newbie has sunk in it, unable of return. So this is the last day in which he can deceive himself, and search the faintest scent of his presence in the fulsome words of mourning, among the sighs, in the thick fragrance of the chrysanthemums. Talk to him for the last time, trying not to burst under the suffocating regrets, the crazy, devouring nostalgia that is squeezing his throat, and devastating his chest.
Dr. Cox moves forward, in the middle of the rabble that is greeting softly the grave; he stops at the edge of the pit, and the half-closed eyelashes, blazing like copper in the gentle light, confers him a fleeting, ethereal impression of exposure.
He stretches out his arm, shedding the pale flower in the shadowy hole; – Goodbye, Newbie – he whispers, so that only his kid can gather the tears trembling in his voice.
The rose hits the coffin with a shiver, shattering in its own petals.
Perry opens wide his eyes, and a wordless scream breaks in his bosom; a raging anguish flows over him, so absolute and so dull that it almost hurts, imprisoning him in a moment of blind, sidereal horror. Then his heavy breathing begins to slow, and his conscience starts to perceive what surrounds him: the dim, cerulean darkness of his room, Jack's soft mumbling in his cot, the heat of Jordan's back curled next to him. He flinches hard, lying down among the disarranged blankets: a dream. It was just a dream. A stupid, terrifying dream that keeps his blood pounding fiercely through his veins, but that has been only a ghostly blur behind his temples. Nothing more. Still, though he dilates his eyelids in the gloom, though he is trying desperately to cling to the rustling sensation of the fabric behind his nape, to the familiar solidity of the figure near him, to every strip of reality in this night, that visions are still palpitating behind his irises, and no matter how he wiggles: the shadows, so vivid, so concrete and tangible, envelop him once again, kidnapping him from the world like the sombre waters of a lake. The light, unripe bud against his palms. The shiny twinkle of the sarcophagus under that benevolent, indifferent sun, without strength and without pity. The memoirs of Newbie's illness, inscribed in his heart with disconcerting crudity, with a monstrous, heartrending clarity. Perry shuts his eyes, shrinking from this thought, attempting to flee from the needy, cruel grasp of those influences, of those exhausted, well-known hands, of their intolerable reality. And at last, in spite of all his efforts, a clot of fear obfuscates his sight, and a bold, unequivocal question, the true reason of his terror, fills his mind.
And if it wasn't a dream?
The understanding blinds him for an instant, and the man feels the need to go up again, wiggling, the desperate urgency to discover the truth, to disperse that crippling doubt, to assure himself that everything is still how it has always been, and how he wants it after all. What if that wasn't a dream,what if all had really happened, and tomorrow he wouldn't see his protégé? Dr. Cox tries to imagine the moment, but he discovers that no shapes contracts behind his irises: he simply can't. With a start, he realizes that he can't, that he doesn't want to imagine his own existence without Newbie, without his constant, clumsy, surprisingly solid presence. In the last years it wasn't his job, or his ambition, or his arguments with Jordan what prevented him from going astray among the drab fogs of the alcohol, from let his fury devour his soul and his balance, but it was the firm, passionate support of those slender and shrewd arms. Newbie's words, his insistences, his eccentricities have always braked his falls and brought in his steps little, comforting certainties, reawakening his pride, rekindling his strength. And besides, the kid must keep refining, increasing his knowledges and his experiences, flourishing a little every day, between his fingers; fundamentally, now he can't deny it, Perry desires that the young, high-spirited man reaches the excellence in his trade and can enjoy all the love, all the satisfaction, all the joy that he can obtain. He wants to see him smiling and learning and maturing, while he will continue to guide him secretly, with his brusque tugs, his gauche pushes. And the vision of that very precious person reduced to an opaque combination of flesh and tendons and chilly blood, a pitiless wrapper of useless bones and cells in which all Newbie's dreams and all his surly, rare affection have drowned, is inconceivable, powerful enough to crushing his universe and casting him in a path behind the light, behind his soul. He wants, he needs Newbie to be still able to chase his happiness, and his own self to be still able to perceive the glaze and the throb of that life, right beside him. So he sits abruptly in the bed, kicks the tangle of blankets and stands, hanged in the dumbest hours of night, searching frantically for the telephone, praying and cursing and furiously hoping that there isn't a reason for the silent grasp that is twisting his throat.
– I'm an idiot, I'm an idiot, I'm an idiot, and probably a crazy idiot – he thinks reaching the living room, while his hands run worriedly over the dressing table, the bookcase, the couch – I'm and idiot, but please, come out stupid phone! – ; his gaze flashes over the hazy shapes weaved on the mat, while his temples nearly deafen him with their pulsating roar. Suddenly, his fist spying out a form behind a white pillow, and it finally shuts around the overly reassuring plastic structure of the cordless. With a shaking hold, the man brings the rectangular screen in front of his face, biting convulsively his lip; in that moment, he is stricken, in a brutal and almost tangible slap, by the absurdity of the whole situation, by its ridiculous flimsiness, by the delirious distance of this gesture from any convention and from any habit. Frozen, Perry kneads his eyelids whit his rough thumbs, exhaling a deaden growl. Dr. Cox is aware that if he lifts the receiver right now, he no longer will be able to ignore what happened, that this one gesture will reveal deep, upsetting reasons which he shouldn't allow himself to imagine, that after this call he'll have to face torments, bitterness, confusion, while his whole world will be shaken, smashed. But he knows also that he will never be able to return to sleep if he isn't sure that somewhere his heart is beating, his mind is lingering in some absurd, hallucinated daydreams, his body is warm and alive and solid as he saw it the day before. Tightening his lips, he grabs the phone, and dials the kid's number. Among the subdued thrills, there is only silence, and for a second a dizzy,darkening sorrow dissolves all the doubts, all the fears. Finally, an ungainly bustle crackles against his pressed ear.
– Hey, this is JD. Who is there? – Here it is. His fresh, intrinsically kind voice, maybe lightly numb with sleep, but lively and graceful like a light summer rain. The relief invades him in a dazzling spurt, almost unbearable, so rough that he immediately has to lean heavily against the wall not to fall over the suddenly weak knees. He's still here, and tomorrow he will be still near the nurse counter chuckling in his idiot gags and he'll greet him aiming him his unfortunately implacable smile and he'll torment him with his unrelenting chit-chat. For now, that's enough.
– Hello, is anyone there? – JD repeats, a shade of curious expectation in his tone; Perry closes his eyes, allowing himself some instants to listen to his calm, regular breath beyond the receiver – Hello? Does anyone want to answer me? – the young man asks again, his words suffused by that garrulous, slightly childish exasperation of his. – Hello? Hello...? –; in a curt motion, closes the call, sinking in the engrossed, secret tranquility of the room.
He rests his head against the cold paint behind his shoulders, letting the same wavering, vulnerable excitement, which hits him when he has just saved a patient, warm his contracted features. He will have all the time to blame himself the next days. He opens his eyelids, lifting his gaze to the clear, fluid sky behind the large window, and a thin, deeply sincere smile rises on his mouth, unsoppressible.
Perry has no idea about what really means his act, what will occur tomorrow, what he has just unleashed in his life; but in some street of the city, in this very moment, a madly groom head of hair is resting, waiting for reach him, and that is what matters. Nothing else.
A few words suddenly flow from his lips, prodigious like an enchant, natural like a sigh: – He's alive. –
And immediately, in some way, the world regains its sweetness.