a/n and this right here is the one thing ive written that is TOO angsty to even think about turning rizzles-y. And it's Wodehouse. I'm that broken of a person that the angstiest thing i have ever written is a Jeeves/Wooster fic.
Who knew that old and dusty armoires could cause the rummiest of feelings in someone? The absolute rummiest kind too, not just the ordinary run of the mill rumminess that comes with the day dawning dark and cloudy, spilling one's tea on oneself, making an ass of oneself, and coming home to find that the family pet had decided to mark your new sofa as its own, but an even darker rumminess that comes with the sudden reminder that you've lost something rather important to you.
It seems as though I've gotten a bit ahead of myself, however, as I am wont to do.,always starting things in the middle of the tale rather than at the beginning. As it has been some number of years since I've last recounted any of my adventures, I fear that my form has gone off quite a bit as well. In fact, to be quite honest, I can't even remember what the last tale I'd jotted down was. I fell out of the habit of writing them down after settling down, as telling stories of my wild and sordid youth seemed to lose some of the pleasure it had when still in the midst of w&s y.
I do recall that the last time I'd put pen to paper that it was one of the last rummy situations that Jeeves had pulled this Wooster cleanly out of the soup, not long before I found myself wed to Doreen, nee Burns, and settling into the life that had been forced upon me with the full force of something that one had been putting off for quite a while. In this case, the intention of society to force me to wed some young thing, produce a litter of children, and act as though life were good.
Now, I would never speak ill of my wife, and in the three decades that we've been married, we've fallen into a sort of quiet, routine life. Love is something that is simply unspoken, as both of us know that there was something beyond some words spoken in front of a vicar that kept us together even once the three young Woosters had moved out to live life with the same vim and vigor that I had at their age. At the time of the wedding, however, I had thought it the worst thing on the planet, and the only thing that had united us was our mutual dislike of the idea of being tied to one another.
As time went on, the ice thawed, and I've grown to rely on her, because she is simply always there, which was perhaps why, when I was cleaning out the attic, I realized just how rummy this old armoire made me feel. Well, not the armoire itself, as it was an ugly old thing, and why it had been bunged into the attic without a second thought, but rather a photograph that I had found lodged inside, pinned to the back of one of the drawers.
It was of me, and I marveled for a moment how much my son Gregory looked just as I had at his age, and with me, looking much like he'd rather be anywhere but in the frame of the camera, was Jeeves. The thing that made the situation the rummiest one I've experienced yet was that it took me a moment to recognize it-that the man that had previously been the most important thing in my life had simply shimmered out of it, the way that he had shimmered in, that over the passage of time I had found that I'd simply...forgotten him, and the realization that he had just floated out of my memories stung more than our rather forced separation had. It had been inevitable, and we had known it would come from the start, but yet, it had stung none the less when it had happened. When I could no longer outrun marriage, and got forced rather against my will into something no one other than dear Aunt Agatha had wanted.
One shouldn't have felt like one's wedding day was the most miserable day of one's live, but that was the only way that I could have described it, because it was the day that had been the final stake that had driven Jeeves out of my life. The one that I had come to rely on, that had been the rock that I had clung to, the only person that I could ever say that I truly loved had been taken from me by force. It was the one engagement that he could not find a way to break, that he could not wrestle me free from, the soup that I could not be strained from. That was the last time I had ever seen him, despite repeated protests on the part of yours truly that he should stay, that I could find some reason, that he could find some reason to remain in my life.
So to look upon this old photograph, it hurt me most to realize that I had to think about who it was standing there with me, that over the years I had simply forgotten what he looked like. I couldn't remember the way he'd sounded, beyond a faintly remembered 'Indeed, sir', or the way he smelled, or the way his lips felt as they met mine, something that I had sworn to him that I would remember for as long as I lived, and I had broken that promise.
Instead, Jeeves had transformed somewhere over the years from the sole focus of my life to a distant memory of a half-forgotten dream, something that would occasionally come up in conversation, but was largely just a void. To come to this realization, that I had simply forgotten the love of my life the way one forgets a childhood pet, well, that was how an armoire caused the rummiest feeling that has ever been felt.
I stood there, staring at the photo for what must have been a solid quarter of an hour, realizing just how much I couldn't remember about him. I wracked my brain for knowledge, for information, for anything that would come to the forefront of the Wooster noggin. I couldn't remember half of the adventures we had had, only occasional snippets of them.
I couldn't remember his favorite color, or the scent of his cologne, even though I can recall telling him one night, curled against him that it would be something that I would treasure forever, after he'd mentioned that scent is the sense tied most strongly to memory. I couldn't remember the way he used to make tea, only that over the past thirty years my taste has adapted to recognize the tea I drank every morning as different, but not unpleasant, not what I wanted, but a passable substitute.
I couldn't remember what items in the Wooster wardrobe had raised his ire, but only that they always seemed to disappear mysteriously from it. I couldn't remember what color his eyes had been, but could remember the feeling of them looking at me lovingly on cold nights, or his favorite authors, only that he enjoyed to read. Poetry and philosophy, I could recall that, and that it made me feel woefully unintelligent when I curled against him, reading some penny thriller and he would whisper out poems as he came across them.
I couldn't even remember the look on his face as I walked Dodi, as she prefers to be called, back down the aisle to the tune of the bridal march of Lohengrin played on the organ above us, only that I could feel the regret, the sadness, the sorrow and knew that I was echoing it as well. There's a reason why only one picture of my wedding is on display anywhere in the house. I prefer to keep all the photo frames full of pictures of the three youngest Woosters, chronicling them as they grew, amazed at how much they changed as time went on.
How much the world had changed as time passed . -a second world war, which had taken from me my young cousin Thos, and what had finally done my Aunt Agatha in How I remembered my experiences with her -someone that I had despised so, and tolerated entirely because of her familial bond- far more vividly than any that I could recall with Jeeves. How stern she had looked at all times, her most common turns of phrase, mostly involving calling me a wastrel, her terrier, MacIntosh.
I could remember the Drones club vividly, walk my way through all the rooms in my memory, despite it having long since been abandoned, changed into something else-one of those fish and chip sort of places that seem to want to fry everything on the menu, and where it's hard to find anything decent to eat . The rounds of dinner roll cricket with Tuppy and Bingo and Barmy and Oofy and all the rest of them, even though the only two that I saw even in passing these days were Tuppy and Bingo,Tuppy, only by way of his being my cousin-in-law, and Bingo by way of his youngest going to Eton with my oldest.
They had changed too, over the years. We found that rather than talk about raising hell as we had in our youth, that we strayed to much more boring topics of conversations, that now, everything had changed, that I had changed, and had come to accept my role in life as a father, and as a husband, doing everything I could to ensure that my children would fare better in this world than I had, that they would never find themselves in the same rum situations I had. Somewhere in the midst of all that changing, Jeeves had simply ceased to exist as a person in my mind, but rather became some sort of abstract figure.
I paused for a moment, wondering what had happened to him. I'd sent him a letter, when I had been on my honeymoon, and he had replied with a note that was one of the few things I could remember. Bertram, It had read, using my given name, surprising me. It is prudent, perhaps, for both of us to cease contact. As much as it pains me to do so, I think it wisest to continue our lives with the happy memories of the time that we had, rather than always have the cloud of why we cannot be hanging over our head. I will miss you, sir, and remember you always, but this is best for us both. Love, RWJ.I had committed the contents of that note to memory.
I had still tried to write him, but the letters always returned unopened, marked simply 'return to sender'. After the fourth one was returned, I'd given up, thinking that perhaps Jeeves had it right. It was better to live with the happy memories than it was to be constantly reminded of why we could never have been together forever, as much as we wanted to. I stood there, staring dumbly at the photograph, wondering if what had been written in that note was true, if Jeeves still remembered me as though we'd never parted.
Of course Jeeves would. The man's a paragon of intelligence, always able to recall anything, and that just made the whole thing rummier, knowing that he was out there, somewhere, and I didn't even know where, remembering me vividly, while I had just gone and forgotten the man that I had pledged my life, my love, my very soul to. No doubt Jeeves was out there, pining away like one of his poet chappies, and I bally well thought that I had become the most horrid person on the planet. No, I knew I was the most horrid person on the planet.
Moreover, I knew that even if Jeeves were there for me to voice my thoughts to, he'd have told me that I wasn't. That I was a kind-hearted, good natured chap, and that was why he loved me. But what sort of kind hearted good natured chap can't even instantly recall their true love's name when they stumble upon a photograph of them with said t l? As I went to chuck the photo back in the drawer-it had no place being out when it was only a reminder that I had forgotten- I caught glimpse of an inscription on the back. It'd faded with time, but with a squint I was able to discern parts of it. Not itself..any care..But for another...Heaven in hell's despair.
I wracked my brain, to figure out which one of those poet chappies had written that, and what the poem might have been. I didn't even recognize Jeeves's elegant script anymore. It could have been anyone writing that on the back of the picture, but it was an easy deduction, even for me , not known for my intelligence. I was glad that at least when the blasted Aunt A had forced me into matrimony that she found someone who had gratefully passed her intelligence and not my own to the Wooster offspring. Then again, if they'd gotten the Wooster intelligence I doubt that there would be dinner-roll fights whenever the boys come back from university for the holidays, arguing about which school was better, and complaining that I picked sides being an Oxford lad myself, and was therefore prejudiced against Terrence, who was going to Cambridge.
So instead of bunging the picture back in the drawer to forget about it, and thus forget about the forgetting, I wandered down to the small library that we kept. I paused at the third bookcase, running my hands along the spines, trying to guess which one seemed to have been the one to write this, wishing more than ever that I had Jeeves there to inform me of what it was. I'd found that as the years went on my use of metaphor and simile all but dropped off, with the supplier of the other half of the metaphors missing from my life. It's bally useless to try and come up with something to compare something to when one can't come up with something to compare said something to.
I settled for picking the volumes that looked the most well-loved. Many of them had been left behind when Jeeves had gone, claiming that he had everything he needed in his valise. Burns was the most well loved of the poets, but after a quick perusal I found nothing resembling the few phrases left behind on the photograph, nor in Shelly, Keats, or Whitman. It was finally in a battered copy of Blake that I found the source for it, and smiled sadly as I squinted at the words.
While the first half of the poem might have done well to describe us then-young and carefree, and so very much in love- the second half went on to predict what would happen to us. Love was a dashed rummy thing, really, and this Blake chappie had it right. It made me feel like I was the most horrific monster in the world to think like that, but if I could, I'd have never met Jeeves. For if he hadn't appeared in my life, he wouldn't have had to disappear, and I wouldn't have had to be reminded that I was careless and callow enough to let him do so, that I hadn't fought for it, persevered, that I had merely given in, and accepted it, that I had let myself forget the greatest thing that had ever happened to me, turn him into a distant memory of a half-forgotten dream. A thing that had existed, rather than a person. Bits and pieces here and there, always as a side note to another story.
Losing him had not been the most difficult part of my life-the most difficult had proven to be keeping my promise to him to remember him always, to love him always above all others. I made a mental note to send him a letter, to see what he'd gotten into these past years, but even as I tucked the photograph in between the pages of the book, I knew that it would never be written, simply because I would not know what to say. I could no longer remember what it was that we had managed to talk at great lengths about, how it was that my breakfast used to be arranged, anything about him, simply that he had been a presence there, and now, rather than any sort of memory of him, there just seemed to be a void, gaping and empty, much like one of those black thingummmies they've just discovered in space.
Everything about him had just been sucked into this void, and I hadn't even noticed it until faced with the fact that he had shimmered out of my life just as he had shimmered in to it.