X: Please Just Take These Photos From My Hand

I read your name under words in your elegant hand you probably don't mean now,
I fold the letter and think of a million and one things that I could have done different.

Usually, I stayed well into the late-morning, soaking up the sunlight streaming through the thin curtains and revelling in the memories of the previous night. Not today, though. Today, I know that I have to leave. I'd spent a sleepless night, tossing every fucked-up thought around in my head, wondering what I was going to do and coming up with only one plausible answer. The second the sun starts to filter into the room, playing around the sunbeams, I creep out of bed, picking up any of my clothes that he had callously thrown around the room, whilst also noticing that his own were carefully folded and placed on a chair in the corner of the room. I'm tempted to steal a shirt; to inhale his scent for as long as it lasts, but I know that cold turkey is safer, and much, much better for all three of us, caught up in this twisted mess that I've managed to tangle for us all.

As the door clicks shut behind me, I wonder briefly if this is a mistake; going backwards after struggling for so long to walk miles ahead. But, as I curl my hand around the doorknob again, flexing my fingers around the cold brass, memories flash across my mind, reminding me of all the reasons to stay and all the reasons to leave and never come back to this beautifully imposing black door. The vision of myself in those memories may have looked older, seemed wiser, more worn-down by life, and I may have appeared to be classier and much less desperate, but the Rose Tyler I see in those pictures in my head now is still the silly immature nineteen-year-old girl that I had been when I had first encountered that dust-soaked leather and petrol blue-stained wood. I have made my decision. No going back.

I grew up a lot in that last night. The old, pathetic Rose Tyler would have stayed under those indigo faux-satin sheets for as long as she could; desperate for some sad sense of recognition. Sometimes, I had waited all day for the merest nod, or perfunctory hand gesture. Well, not me. Not anymore. On the way back to my flat, I plan my words carefully, all the while crumbling away the lovesick teenager who has been ruling my head and heart for far too long. I refuse to give in to sentimentality, or anger, or sadness. I want nothing more but to move on. To live, not just to go on surviving.

Turning the key in the lock, I run inside, closing the door behind me and sliding down the cool wood panelling, succumbing to tears for what I promise myself will be the last time. When I feel hollow again, I pull myself up and wander over to the nearest desk, finding a pen and some paper and preparing to write the most difficult letter of my life.

Dear S,

Well, here we are. That one place you always knew we'd end up at. 'Broken' isn't the word for us because we were never close to 'fixed' or 'whole' in the first place, but this is a symbol of honesty, of the end of us lying to each other, and to ourselves, because these past months have all just been one long drawn-out lie. We didn't want each other. We were just lost and lonely and needed the idea of one another. Well, not anymore. We both deserve better than we can give to each other. We both deserve happiness, but more importantly, we both deserve a partner who isn't as selfish as we've been with each other.

But, as this is me saying that we're over, that it's over, then you deserve the truth; the reason that I could never, and would never vocalise to you before now. The reason why I needed you. The truth is that you were a replacement for a man that I loved and lost a long time ago, when I was still a silly little girl who believed in forever and fairytales. An impossible man. A man who I never got bored of, who could change his face and demeanour all in a split-second. A man called 'The Doctor', who took me away in his magical machine and showed me his version of forever. It all sounds too fantastical to be real; it sounds like some playtime fantasy that I made up in my own head and could never simulate in real life, but honestly, no one could ever make this story up. It's too unreal, too fantastical, too unbelievably impossible and heartbreaking.

I am from another world, a parallel to this one, and I lost that brilliant man on a deserted beach on this world's version of Norway almost six years ago now. After that, I threw myself into finding a way to break down the barriers between this world and my own in the vain hope of finding him again. When I did, there was a perfect moment when I believed that I would finally get the happily ever after that I had been so desperately searching for, but in the end, my consolation prize was a duplicate, a clone of the man I had loved so completely that I was willing to risk my life to see him one last time. From then on, I was a shadow of my former self, curling up into myself and pretending that nothing mattered anymore, when really all I wanted to do was hurl myself at this unfamiliar sky and pray that it would swallow me up into our universe. Eventually, I even grew to hate him a little bit, but never so much that I could speak his name to anyone. It became like a private signal of warmth to myself; something I could whisper to myself in the darkness that would give me hope and strength. But it wasn't enough…and that's why I needed you so badly.

You would find it a little funny, maybe, if you knew how similar the two of you are. The mile-a-minute explanations, the despairing intellect, the love for the thrill of the chase, the enigmatic nature of the both of you. It's the reason why I was so inexplicably drawn to you that night. I wanted you because you were the closest I could get to him. I never loved you, that much you already know. I think sometimes, I even hated you, because you were all I wanted but I knew the second I first saw you that I could never have you in the way I wanted to have you. You were never going to be my forever, my fairytale, and maybe that's why I have to leave now. Maybe I have to get out because I've realised that fairytales are impossible and don't exist. Maybe I finally took off my rose-tinted spectacles. Maybe I finally grew up.

Whatever the reason, I know that you fixed me somehow, stuck me back together, made me whole again in some strange impossible way, almost like he did, only better, because before him, I didn't know any different, whereas after him, I was so completely broken and lost that it could only take a human version of him to put the pieces back together again. Like children with papier-mâché, or Frankenstein with his monster. But this is irrelevant really, because all I know for certain is that you're a good man, Sherlock Holmes. A very good man. And I will never forget you and everything that you have done for me. Thank you. So much. Always.

Yours,

R.

I seal the envelope, carefully smoothing down each adhesive edge where it meets the paper, and thinking to myself how strange it is to wonder whether that was what Sherlock had done for me; smoothed out all my edges, stuck me back together. Except he hasn't exactly done that because there is only one man who can. I print the address, letting '221B Baker Street' sink into my memory for the last time before I step outside of my flat and head for another, dropping the honesty-ridden letter into a post box on the way. I stop outside a petrol blue door and steady myself. This was it; now or never. I knock on it tentatively, and watch with biting anticipation as it slowly opens to reveal the one person who I know can give me the missing piece of my puzzle.

'Hello,' he says, surprised to see me.

'Hi,' I reply, desperately searching for some normal, explanatory way to phrase everything I want, no, need to say to him.

'What are you-?' he begins, but before I know it, I'm jumping in, cutting him off with the three words I definitely didn't mean to say right there and then.

'I love you.' There is silence. You could cut the air with a knife.

I begin to gabble, stumbling over my words in a sudden desperation to say all of it, every single word. 'And I'm sorry, I truly am. I was stupid, a silly little girl, I needed to grow up! You were right, everything you said. I was selfish, I wanted Him back, the Doctor. But you're not him, you never will be, and that's better because I need to settle down and live a normal, happy life, and I know that I don't deserve you, and you're too good for me, and that you shouldn't have to put up with any of my shit, but I've changed. No, really, I've changed. I want you. I want you, not him…' I trail off and finish my big amazing speech that completely hasn't gone to plan at all with a feeble, 'So…what do you think?'

He sighs.

'I think you'd better come in, Rosie…'