I'm so selfish that I let my anger overwhelm the saddest moment of my life. Now, it will always be overshadowed by the effect, the after. I was so angry that I forgot to mourn; I forgot to live and breathe; I forgot to worry about the future.

I didn't attend my girlfriend's funeral. Instead, I went on a killing rampage. I was out of control, and in those moments, I just wanted others to feel my pain; I needed to avenge her death. At least, that's what I've applied afterwards. I can recall it so perfectly, yet I still don't know why. What I did, everything, seemed so perfectly logical that there was no reason to doubt it in my mind. I felt it was necessary because how could the death of such a beautiful soul have been predestined? I had to make my own fate, I suppose I thought. But maybe everything- even my attempt to make my fate my own by retaliating (and then eventually returning to the "light side of the Force")- was predestined. Maybe it all was like some classic story.

Because I turned a tragedy into a tragic fall. Her tragedy, the loss of the most wonderful, perfect, beautiful person I have ever known, is forever tied with the darkest moments of my lifetime. And no one dwells on the death of Banquo when the fall of Macbeth is happening. Banquo is just a minor character that serves a purpose in the plot. I wonder if maybe Banquo deserved more attention. He was the good, honest one, and Macbeth-

Who are we kidding?

I was selfish enough that Tara never got her own moment. Not Macbeth. I ensured that she never got the spotlight, even in her death. No one got the chance to mourn her because they had to deal with my immaturity. A temper tantrum after I failed to get my way.

And I stopped them from mourning. Buffy, Xander, Anya, Dawn, Giles. Though they did not love her like I did (do), they all would have mourned. But they couldn't because of me.

Sometimes, I imagine what her funeral would have been like. It would have been a beautiful, daytime ceremony. I would have cried throughout the entire time, and I would have thrown freshly-picked daisies (her favorite) on her grave. It would have been the most terrifying and horrible moment, when I'd have to confront she was gone forever, but I would have known she was in a better place. That this world was too harsh for her beauty and her perfection. We would have gone back to the house, and I would have told many stories about our cat and how we met and how she brought me back from the edge.

But she didn't. She didn't bring me back, but somehow, unknowingly, she pushed me off the ledge. She fell, and as if she was tied to my physical presence, I was dragged along. And yet, I wasn't. I chose to. I don't blame her, and even as much as I blame Warren for Tara's death, he had no part in my fall. That was my fault. And it is my burden alone to forever tie to my heart.

When I think of everything, I can think chronologically. One, two, three; like a history textbook. But somewhere the feelings get thrown in and suddenly I don't know what to think. It was my fault. My fault alone, but with more time, would I have eventually done different things? If Warren had shot her three years later, would I still have gone down that road? Would the blood sprayed ever so slightly upon my shirt, would her last words, would everything have pushed me off the narrow precipice I so try to cling onto?

It was so improbable. He was aiming for Buffy. Somehow he hit Tara. I don't know how. I've thought about sitting down and figuring out the angles. The proportions. But does it matter? It happened, and even if I prove it physically impossible, nothing changes. She still remains in a grave that I visit (but never saw her put in) and I still remain here alone.

Sometimes I wish Tara wasn't the one to be killed, but then I think about who should have been killed, and my brain simply doesn't accept 'nobody.'

Buffy or Tara? I can't make that choice.

The only appropriate answer is me. Shoot me instead, Warren. Tara would have never had that magics explosion, and I wouldn't be feeling so terrible inside. I wouldn't be dying and wondering always who I was going to hurt next. I don't want to feel like this anymore.

Let me do the unselfish thing and die.

But then I look at others. Angel. Faith. The point is that we can't go back. The point is that there is no time machine. The point is that there is nothing we can do to change it, and if we kill ourselves, then we will never get redemption.

Death isn't redemption. Death is easy and quick and the most selfish choice of all.

Redemption is living each day, taking a big breath in the morning and letting it out at night. Redemption is helping save the world. Redemption is having evil deeds weigh on you at all times, but being able to bat them away when you need to focus. Redemption is saving lives and helping people survive.

Buffy says I don't need redemption. Xander agrees. But sometimes when they think I'm not looking, I see them. Not judging, really. Just concerned, I suppose. Maybe pity.

Redemption is until they just see crayon-breaky Willow again.

But that redemption will never come in my heart because even if I didn't do too much lasting damage,- according to them anyway- I will know what I felt, and there's no going back after that. I know of the darkness in my heart, and I cannot unfeel the satisfaction of Warren's death or the fervent desire to destroy everything.

And ultimately, I wonder if there was another way. Could have I have seen her cold, lifeless corpse and not reacted with the need for revenge? All of my training means the answer should be yes, now that I can control my emotions.

But even in hindsight, even understanding my selfishness, I don't know what else I could have done.

She was my love and she was dead. I couldn't control myself, so I didn't see her buried. I just have memories of killing another human being, regardless of his actions. I killed him. And I let Tara's death be the final move in some goddess' chessboard. And then I fell, disregarding everything I tried to be with Tara.

Her death became the catalyst for darkness, and that's just not fair to her. She was forever burdened with my selfishness and my redemption. And that's just not fair.