It's been almost a year a no day goes by that I don´t think about you.
It still hurts. Not as badly as it did the first few weeks, when I could barely function at all, but it still requires every ounce of determination to get through the day without breaking something (or God forbid, someone) out of sheer frustration. Or to simply not break down.
As it is with most things in life, it is the small things that get me.
The first few months are a blur. I spent the first month on leave, month I spent trying to drink me to death cause I couldn´t cope with the fact that you were gone and that I had murdered a man in cold blood and I was getting away with it. Legally, that is.
I couldn't stand living with myself, or living without you, for that matter. And I did plenty of things of which I'm not proud of. All I can say in my defense is that I was pretty messed up, and I'll be the first to admit it is a lame defense.
I was so fucked up that the most stupid ideas made perfect sense, like blaming you for everything that was wrong in my life, no matter what it was. If I ran out of hot water mid shower it was your fault, for not being there to remind me to check the water heater before. If I didn't eat for two days in a row it was your fault as well… had you bother to be around you'd had picked up something on the way home, or, better yet, you'd have cooked something nice just for me.
There was just so much hate inside of me! I had to get rid of it somehow… anything went. I'm so ashamed, babe, of the things I did… so ashamed. I couldn't stand feeling so many things inside of me and I just wanted to stop feeling… I wanted to stop missing you so badly, I just wanted… heck, I just wanted you back in my life… and I went on a suicidal mission.
First it was the sex… lots of meaningless sex on lots of strangers' beds, as if I was looking to fuck my way out of the pain. But no matter what I did (or who I did), I always ended up dragging my sorry ass back to our bed, to the pillows that still held your smell, and cried myself to sleep hugging your favorite pj's, being revolted by my actions and swearing to never again, only to do it all over again the next day… and the next… and the next.
I even fucked the department's counselor to get her to sign my return to work before a month had gone by… how fucked up is that?
Then it was the booze. I fell off the wagon so hard Jess… I know I had promised you to cut down the drinking to social outings and celebrations, and even then to draw the line after the third drink, but… drinking made me forget, and forget was all I wanted. Not forget you, that'll NEVER happen! Just forget… everything else…
I know the whole team was worried about me, but I thought that just by showing up and going through the motions I could brush it off and fool them into thinking everything was fine. I know, hun, I know. How stupid can I be? Mac kept asking if I was sleeping and Hawkes kept asking if I was eating right and Danny kept following me around in that damned chair and Lindsay kept bringing me home-made lunches and gleeful Lucy to try and cheer me up. Stella just kept looking at me with questioning eyes, making it perfectly clear that she worried about the way I was holding up… or rather, not holding up. Even Sid made a point of inquiring about my well-being every chance he had… and I hated them, and you and me for keeping everyone walking on eggshells every time I was around.
I know I let go of myself some… okay, maybe more than some, I was frayed around the edges for a while… but what's wrong with not shaving every day? At least I remembered to shower before showing up to work most of the times…
And I kept my side of the bargain, too! Even if you didn't keep yours… I promised you I'd get rid of all my lousy ties and I did…okay, maybe I went too much on the opposite direction and "casual" was an understatement when describing my working attire but… what's the point of wearing a suit and a dress shirt with no tie? What was I supposed to wear under the suits, then? A Henley? That look went out of style with Don Johnson and I ain't living in Miami…
Speaking of promises… I know I owe your old man an apology for standing them up on your birthday… I'm sorry, Jess, I just… and they had no way of knowing… remind me again whose brilliant idea it was to set your birthday as the deadline for moving in together? Oh yeah… it was mine. It was also my plan to get down on one knee in front of your parents with a little black velvet box in one hand and my heart on the other. I just kept that last bit to myself…
So when I saw them gathered around the table toasting your memory I just couldn't get out of the car. That toast should have been to celebrate our marriage, damn it! Just too fucking unfair…
… and all the baby steps forward I had taken suddenly became a huge leap back.
I almost got myself killed on the job for not being able to stop a woman demanding I shoot her. I simply froze. But I just simply couldn't pull the trigger. Even know I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to pull it again. My hands are covered in blood, Jess, your killer's blood. And although the sonofabitch deserved every milligram of lead I put through him I didn't have the right to do it… it's something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.
And haunt me it has. When I asked Deborah Carter if given the chance she'd murder again, I was questioning myself as well. And when I admonished her on it coming back to plague her, I was talking out of experience; it is true: no matter how okay you pretend to be with what you did, nothing can change the fact that someone is dead because you killed them. It stays with you forever.
Until you snap.
It had been an almost perfectly good day. Actually, it had been an almost perfectly good week. And then… bam! Out of nowhere, it just hits me. I got home relatively early, I began talking to your photo, like I usually do. You know, asking what we're gonna fix for dinner, telling your about the day's work… usual stuff you talk about when you get home from work. I remember switching on the TV to have some background noise and what's the first thing that comes up? "American Fucking Idol". Your favorite guilty pleasure. I remembered poking fun at your for liking to watch such crap, and I remembered sitting down with you to watch it while grumbling about having to do so but actually liking some of the participants, and I remember jokingly asking your ghost that next time please set the TV back on ESPN after watching, and I remember listening to the presenter introducing one judge, Simon Cowell…
Simon Cowell… Simon Cade… Simon… Jess…
And then I don't remember much of what happened next… not sure how I got to Terrance place (but I must have gotten into a fight along the way, cause I was bruised all sorts of colors) and not sure how much I told him, either. Not sure how Mac found me, either, but it was pretty obvious he was royally pissed at me… my face still burns remembering the things I told him… I was way fucking out of line and all the while a part of me was hoping he´d actually shoot me and put me out of my misery.
But he was right. I wasn't dealing with your death or the fact I had killed a man in cold blood. I had been showing some pretty fucked-up self-destroying behavior, but I wasn't coping. I was just pretending to be fine when I wasn't, and a part of me was glad you were dead so you wouldn't have to see what a shameful caricature of myself I had become. You would have been so disgusted!
I was so ashamed for letting everyone down, including you. And if I needed more reminders to keep walking a straight line, there was Hollis Eckhart; walking, living proof of how easily grief and guilt could get an otherwise sane mind to jump over the edge into insanity. Although he had killed several people, my heart went out to him. Watching the woman you love die in front of you…
God, Jess, I'm sorry… I know I promised you I'd stop crying, but I can't. I love you, I love the job, but it brings me more grief than joy most days.
Some cases just seem to be a variation of the same topic. Take the guy that was torched in the alley by the two psycho ladies. While one of them was still believed to be innocent I told her that anyone was capable of murder. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
Or the vampire case. I know Mac got me out of the interrogation room when we brought the boyfriend in because he thought it was too close for comfort. It turned out he had murdered her, so no sympathy there for him, except for one thing: he was right, I should have been there with you.
Or the man who wrote threatening letters to the car racer. When we were discussing his dead brother's demise at the hands of a drunk driver, he asked me if I could comprehend that level of tragedy. I can't. And they guy driving the truck responsible for your death wasn't even drunk…
I dunno if I'll ever stop linking present cases to your death. I dunno if I'll ever get over the fact that so much was lost that day. I can't make it better, but I certainly managed to make it worse for a while. I can't even say if I'll manage to say on the clean side of things, if I'll be able to function normally ever again.
All I can do is try, and I promise you, babe, that I'm trying my darnest best. Dunno if that's good enough, but it's the best I can give, and once upon a time my best was enough to make you happy. And that's good enough for me.
I brought you some flowers, by the way. Gardenias, not roses. Your folks have done a good job of keeping your grave all nice and clean and I wanted to contribute somehow. I know I don't come by often, but that's mainly your fault; you hang around my place so often I don't feel the need to come and see you here. Me bad, I know, but I've always loved having you around… and even now my place's a lot cozier than yours.
Love you Jess. Always will.