"Now, there are many millions who in their sects and churches who feel the order, 'Do thou,' and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in'Thou shalt.' Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But 'Thou mayest'! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win... And I feel I am a man. And I feel that a man is a very important thing - maybe more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent towards the gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed - because 'Thou mayest.'"... John Steinbeck
"I guess this was just too much of a risk for both of us."
As I turn to leave her my senses dull momentarily. The erratic pounding of her heart overwhelms my sensitive ears and matches my own heart's broken rhythm. I head towards the woods adjacent to the reception, back to my isolated warehouse.
As I meander through the woods I feel my phone vibrate and recognized the number, but I can't answer her. I'm not sure I'm the person she is trying to reach. Once the shadows of the trees swallowed me I felt like I was truly slipping away.
I feel like I'm losing Vincent. Hidden here in this wild darkness that is a perfect reflection of my soul; my hollowness is erasing me. I begin running through this darkness, ignoring my phone - I have no name, not here; not in these woods.
Catherine and I had finally found footing. For the first time in 9 years the obstacles seemed insignificant. All our omissions and secrets were gone and the future finally laid a head of us. She had brought me out of the cold.
I thought we'd finally learned. Learned to love the world we were in the way it was. No more wishing. We had opened ourselves up to how perfect the flaws of our reality were and we were content with it. For a moment she had held me fast and I'd finally felt like I'd been able to stop wandering aimlessly through the nights. I'd allowed myself to long for a future where I grew old …
I remember her trying to tell me everything was fine.
It had taken me nine years. Nine years of wrestling with my youth, my fears, my beast to be able to share her path. To live in the truth with her whether it be in darkness or light. But again and again she has used these omissions to hide from me. She had always glossed over the sticky details, the harder truths.
And despite my anger at her for this I can't help but wonder if it is proof she knows me well; because every time I lose my head with her; I lose my spine as well.
"He said it's becoming more animal."
If I had had the strength, the presence of mind, the clarity I'd had while holding her in my arms - while dancing with her - I might not have allowed those hard truths to force me from her side.
I might not be alone.
I might not be cold.
I might not be scared.
My thoughts were running in cruel self pitying circles. I had felt giddy 30 minuets ago and now I couldn't stop the click in my head from deafening me. More animal – less human – was that even possible …
I paused - hearing a crash not far off. I strained to listen trying to piece together what was happening on the road not far from the woods. I hear her voice but I can't make out the words. I hear anxiety, fear, and pain in her tone. I start to run towards her when I hear two shots ring out in unison.
My mind races as I run towards the sound. I only have eyes for Catherine as I approach the scene. I yell for her but she's not moving. I feel as though I have been hit by a blast of cold water; cold water that threatened to freeze my heart.
I can hear her heart beat and I know death is at her doorstep, and if I don't do something she will be gone. I try and try to open the door but can't. The beast – done with my self obsessed inner monologue and my puny human strength - claws forward roaring it's pain and ripping the door from the vehicle.
As the beast pulls her from her vehicle Vincent hears her thready heart beat and shallow breathing. Searching the night for answers the beast turns in circles hoping Vincent will have an epiphany. The beast doesn't do epiphanies, it does instincts and as it sees the car pull up and Evan and Heather inside it the beast's instincts tell it that those two headlights are the best choice.
Vincent just hopes the beast's choice is enough. Vincent knows running would only hurt her chances. Vincent knows Evan is her best shot. Vincent and the beast hear the softest moan from her and the pain echos through Vincent to the beast where it threatens to force a roar in response.
Vincent could still remember the words she had spoken. Vincent could still remember the words that set his heart a flame.
"I think that I lied because I feel like I do have do someone in my life and it wasn't that I wanted to show him off. It's just that I wanted him to be here."
Sure the hope that had sprouted than now lay in ashes, but Vincent knew Catherine was still what he wanted. Vincent couldn't snuff out his desire. It still burned through him. Even with his mind clouded it was her flame that stopped his heavy heart from growing cold as he clutched her to his chest.
She would be ok. Vincent had to believe that. The beast had to believe this in order to stop itself from running as Evan got out of the car. With one last squeeze of Catherine the beast tried to tame itself. Tried to allow Vincent the control he needed because Vincent needed to be there for her. Vincent wanted to be able to assure her she wasn't alone and the beast knew try as it might it wasn't capable of that.
But both Vincent and the beast were realizing Catherine would have to settle for the beast tonight and possibly one day soon for forever …