words 1006 thru 2008 (Everyday Inspiration, Day 13)

(*Note: This is a continuation of a piece I wrote during any earlier task, a part 2 I guess. Read part 1,  titled a thousand words, give or take, to find out what has been told of the tale so far.)

as Tom unfolds the purple pages that had been tucked gently into the purple envelope so many years ago, memories of her begin to fill his head. it wasn’t as if he could ever forget her, but slowly he had chosen to push thoughts of her aside just so he would have the strength to breath.

the time she took a shower with him with her clothes still on because she was nervous about him seeing her. the time they went for a walk thru the city and she was wearing the yellow sweater with the butterflies, the one that hung off her shoulders, exposing her upper back, he told her he liked that top on her because he could see and touch her skin as they walked. when she used to walk him to his car as he left for work every morning. the four am mornings when he’d leave coffee in the machine for her as he headed off to work, she’d offer him a sleepy goodbye, he’d call later on his lunch break at eight, to check on her and just to hear her voice. the time they took Christmas card photos and laughed so hard that almost all of the photos turned out blurry, she was happy then.

as he falls back into reality, it hits him hard. he realizes she stopped laughing long before she left, he can’t think of the last smile he saw on her face, it had to have been weeks or maybe even months before. he looks down at the note, he realizes he had been clutching it tightly and had created wrinkles in the crisp purple pages, he smooths the papers and begins to read.

“my dearest Tom, when you think of me please do not be sad. if i had known how to stay, i would have. some people aren’t meant for this world though. most people go on and on about how selfish suicide is and you know what? i agree, suicide is damn selfish. but as a human being i was given the right to be selfish. i was not selfish in every choice i made, but in most i was. i don’t think i was meant to stay any longer than i did. everything happens exactly as it is supposed to. in the end everything is perfect. we all play are parts exactly as were meant to. when people talk of suicide, they say things like ‘why didn’t she tell us something was wrong?’ or ‘if only we had known, we could have helped him’. it’s as if the person was supposed to stick around just for the sake of other people, i don’t agree with this. to me, living simply because others want you to live doesn’t make much sense. i didn’t have it in me to be happy, something was flawed in my heart, something i didn’t know how to recover from. the only was for me to live was to die. as you read this i know i am with Jesus and that He has made my heart perfect. i don’t cry anymore. i am no longer empty. and i hope that you don’t cry for me, because i am perfect now, without sorrow and without darkness…”

Tom sets the note down for minute. he doesn’t feel any better, if anything he feels worse. he hates her more now, after he has read these words. how could she have been so damn selfish? how could she know that there was no chance of happiness for her on earth?

he picks the paper back up to finish reading. “the church you are sitting in, it is the closest thing to happiness that i found on earth. here i forgot to feel empty, here i forgot to mourn the life i would never live. i wanted to love you, but i was incapable of loving while i was down there. no matter how hard i tried. i am grateful for the moments you gave me that came close to joy. thank you for trying. love, Rachelle” Tom has tear-streaked cheeks now and his face is flushed red hot with anger. he wants to scream. he still doesn’t understand any of it. he gave her everything he had and it was never enough. he wonders if even tried to love him or if that was just a lie.

he walks over to the door that the priest closed some time earlier. he knocks. the priests invites him into his office.

“Tom, would you like to sit?” the priest motions to a chair opposite his own. Tom takes the seat.

“i don’t get it, Father.” Tom hesitates, “is that what i should call you?”

the priest seems to think before answering, “if you want to, but my given name is Robert, which ever you are comfortable with.”

“okay, Robert. i don’t understand why she came to this church, she wasn’t even Catholic.”

“she came for the windows. every wall of the sanctuary has windows, so no matter the time, during daylight hours sunlight pours in. she said it was the most sunshine she had every seen inside a building and it made her feel close to God, she said in this church full of sunlight she thought maybe she could learn to feel good things, learn to love. i thought she was getting somewhere with all that, but then she came one morning, tear-stained and empty. she left the note with me and said she knew you’d be here someday and to give it to you.”

“in the note Rachelle said she was incapable of loving, do you believe that is true?”

“no, i don’t. but Rachelle did believe it, and sometimes we hold onto our beliefs so tightly that they drown us and consume us and the thought of believing anything less is unbearable. Rachelle was lost, she found the only answers she knew how to while she was here. forgive her, she was not perfect, but tragically broken.”

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a thousand words, give or take (Everyday Inspiration, Day 4)

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he didn’t think she would really do it, she’d said it a million times and never followed thru. she hated being there, here, alive, and he knew it. no matter what he did, he couldn’t make her want to be here, here on this earth. he hated her for it. he hated himself for it. he didn’t know what happened inside to make her feel so broken. he knew it had to be something. he thought that if he poured every ounce of love that he had into her, she would stay for him, she would stay because she loved him. he didn’t know that she couldn’t love. she was too broken to love.

now thirty six years later, he’s sitting in a church for the first time since her funeral. he swore he’d never come back, too angry at God. God, why didn’t You save her? why didn’t You tell her how much she was worth? why didn’t You make her stay? she would have stayed if she knew how much she meant to You. You let her down. You let me down. i hate You. on the day she died something broke in him. he didn’t want to be alive anymore, but didn’t have the heart to end his own life, and plus he felt responsible, guilty, and he decided to live every day in shame and destroy himself from the inside out because it was his fault that she died, he deserved to suffer a long life without her, without the love of his life. this is what he thought.

but yesterday, yesterday something happened- he heard a song on a classic rock station. classic rock, the thought still made him cringe, these songs were the songs of his youth, the songs of her youth. “Wendy, runaway with me, i know i sound crazy, don’t you see what you do to me, i wanna be your lost boy, your last chance, a better reality”, there was nothing classic about it in his mind, but it was her song, her anthem, but why couldn’t she remember it on that day, her last day? maybe she did remember it and that was why she couldn’t stay. she left to find Neverland. she knew she would make it into Heaven, there was no doubt in her mind about it, she never doubted her faith, but still she left. so now he sits in this church, something inside him told him he needed to meet God here. the place is familiar, yet he doesn’t know why, he’s sure he’s never been here before, he chose it at random, just walked in the first church he saw off the street.

he’s been sitting here for an hour, suddenly a door opens off to the side of the stage and pulpit, a man in a robe walks out, a priest. the man makes a beeline for him, as if he already knew he was there, the first man panics, he’s never talked to a priest before, what is he gonna say? is the priest gonna throw him out because the church is closed? it’s not time for Mass, he checked the time on the marque before he walked in, but the door was open. do churches even close?

the priest is standing in front of him now, “Tom?” he asks.

how does the priest know his name? “yes” the first man chokes out the word.

the priest sits down. “we’ve been waiting for you” Tom feels panic rising in his chest, what’s going on? what did i do that a priest is waiting for me? is he a messenger from God? of course he is, but a direct messenger?

the priest is talking again “i have something for you” pulls out an envelope, hands it to Tom. It’s a soft purple color, her favorite color, his name written in her small messy hand across the front. Tom’s heart began to flutter. he hadn’t seen his name written by her in thirty six years, on the note she left on the day she left. God, how he hated her for writing that note.

he doesn’t feel like he has the strength to open it, he turns to the priest, “how?”

“we knew her well here, she was here several times a week, she left that on the morning it happened, said you’d be here some day, she didn’t know how soon, but she knew you would be drawn here eventually, i don’t think she imagined it would be so many years.”

she left this note thirty six years ago, he was having trouble wrapping his head around it.

“i’ll leave you for now, but i’ll be in my office if you want to talk” and the priest stands and walks back towards the door he came from and Tom turns his attention back to the envelope.

how can he hate her still? how can he hate her if he still loves her, seeing his name scrawled in the perfect printing of hers, messy and perfect in the same letters, on that beautiful color that reminds him of her favorite t-shirt, the one she lived in all summer once, by Autumn it was so thin and threadbare, but she couldn’t bare to throw it out, she put it in his bottom drawer, said she’d be back for it someday, someday never came. it was just a plain purple shirt, but the way it rested against her curves, he couldn’t look away when she wore that shirt, maybe that was why she wore it. he kept it in his bottom drawer for years, he couldn’t bare to look at it without her body in it, knowing her body would never be in it again.

Tom looked at the envelope, what could she have written here that she didn’t write in the other note? did he still hate her? he couldn’t decide. he ran his finger under the sealed flap, gently broke what had been sealed for thirty six years…

(*want to read more of this tale? words 1006 thru 2008 have now been written.)

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A Story (a poem)

I couldn’t tell it all in a note,
so I wrote it in a book.
Why would I say goodbye,
when my story’s unfinished?
Invading my thoughts.
Not as something to commit,
but as something to study.
You can’t ask them why they did it.
Only those who attempt or ideate give reasons.
That isn’t proof at all.
No conclusions can be drawn.
We are the only ones who can tell our own stories.
Can a single page really say enough?