Holding Onto the Air
Sometimes, why's it seem like the lie is better?
Sure, s'not like my life is completely down in the dumps as it is; unlimited free travel with a smarty-pants tour guide (sharp like a piece o' paper that one is). No need for a job. A Mum an' a Grandad that love me.
Freedom from the mundane.
Least, that's what I thought would make me happy when I stepped inside that lil' blue box as the best-prepared companion in history (tell me who else had bothered ta pack their hats in a proper hat box, just in case, eh?). I wanted ta travel among the stars … nothing holding me down.
Till I got that taste of the everyday banality … and found that it was anything but. The daily mysteries of life, albeit stuck on fast forward, were a look into the beautiful chaos I'd never thought I wanted.
A disastrous first date of sitting in the rain … fishing in my finest no less, where I caught cold and he barely said two words. Falling in love with each other's flaws, and seeing each other as better people for them. Wanting to get married and suddenly finding ourselves running from the church, knowing nothing but that we were dressed for a wedding and giggling madly in our whirlwind of love. Wanting a family and suddenly having a family … a perfect one.
I had children. Josh and Ella. My babies … mine … but not mine. Templates. Only two of many copies.
It didn't matter.
They were mine … OURS … Lee's and mine … in the only way that mattered. We loved them more than our own lives. When I learned the truth, it didn't matter, they still had my love. I would have gladly stayed trapped there forever rather than leave my little ones behind … but I couldn't make myself buy the lie for long.
The most difficult memory of all, other than promising Lee that I would find him as what was left of my heart crumbled away? Hugging Ella close and breathing in the still baby-fresh smell of her hair. Swearing on my life ta never close my eyes again for fear of losing them, and then finding that I was holding onto nothing. Nothing but air under the sheets of their beds as my children disappeared forever.
That was the only thought that sustained me those first moments of returning to the real world. I can find him, I thought, we can try again … have a life … have that kind of love again … have our own children that might fill the hole left behind by our false little girl and boy. Ella and Josh … gone but never forgotten. Never forgotten.
Yet as the minutes ticked by and I had no luck in finding him … reality just kept crashing over me in waves. The Library Computer explained to me that no one by that name had even been on the planet during the Vashta Nerada attack. Of the 4,022 people saved, not one of them was named Lee. Was he a copy too? A construct that stopped existing when I closed my eyes?
Maybe Miss Evangelista was right … I should let them go for my own sake. It was all a dream. None of it real. Yet it was all real … so very real. When you experience a love like that you can't ever let it go. It was as real as the air I breathe. I cannot survive without it … yet no one can hold onto the air.