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As I Lay You Down

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As I watched the first signs appear, I knew something was changing.

 

You were happy then. You were always smiling, but how many people are forced to wear a smile? You, my dear, always did.

Your healing was the most beautiful thing I have been privileged to witness. It started with a weak, sickly little shoot, so long in need but with no nourishment that many people thought it unsavable. Worthless. Too far gone to try. They never intended to heal you, and with every passing day, that sickness took its slow, poisonous toll.

What more could I have done?

I think back often to the day I first met you, my love... What a mysterious, profound hand Destiny had played by having us meet then. A young boy, starving and dirty, and a young girl, lost and discouraged. From the dirty streets of the city to the cold walls of the asylum, and from the beginning of life to the end of it with only a single person to show you the kindness of humanity. 

For it to have been me is an honor I do not know why I was given, for it was a gift I did not deserve.


But life goes on... And yours, my love, was a battle to the end.

 

As I held you then, I panicked. There was no way, after all we had went through, after all we had achieved together, after all I had done, that you could be taken so easily... Three short, joyful, tear-filled years were successfully behind us and a sprawling future before us. Love begets a certain kind of courage, or perhaps a certain bravado if you're so inclined. The world is an endless bounty, time an infinite expanse, life an open book of empty pages and nothing is too much to ask. You just naturally feel invulnerable. Who knows why...? The psychology of love is an exercise in trying to mix the spiritual, the emotional, the physical, and the instinctual harmoniously and differentiate one from the other clearly. It's an anomaly not exclusive to humanity, but easily the most unique to it.

Having that vision torn before your very eyes instantaneously is nothing short of soul-killing. Like a glorious painting torn and smeared, the image ruined never to be right again.

The initial shock may shield artificially from the encroaching reality, but there is never any hiding from it. Even refusing to confront it is concession, because ignoring it is effectively equal to acknowledging it outright. The only difference is that it is the most unaccepting, unconforming, frightened souls that suffer the greatest punishment for such unpreparedness.

You held my hand tight even as yours grew cold.

The phantom of that chill holds it even still.

 

But you couldn’t fight forever.

 

 

 

As I lay you down, I was forced to see with weary eyes the reality set upon me. 
I am alone now.

I couldn't stop you from leaving. I couldn't save you. I couldn't ease your suffering in those final moments but they will be with me forever.

I couldn't even save myself from my own grief.

My ring has rusted, and the metal wears thin... It scrapes away with the lightest touch, and I can see the cracks forming along the tips of the wire. My every effort to preserve it has only weakened it further, and I am too afraid to take it off lest it break just from the effort.

Likely before the end of the week, it will be gone.

Every remembrance of you is being erased from this world somehow, or at least, that is what my heart seems to tell me. The diaries are lost, and now the one remaining treasure you left me will soon be taken. It feels like you were completely removed from my life, completely against my will, and now I am left with nothing.

Memories— figments that I cannot embrace— are all that still linger. I washed your favorite blanket and laid it over your half of the bed. The tree in the yard under which we loved to sit is bare now, asleep for the winter.

Though there is not a moment you are not in my thoughts, there is nothing that remains of you here, and my thoughts all feel empty. In the eyes of the world, you were a nobody.

In the eyes of a nobody, you were the world.

 

My dearest Emil, all I can do is beg you to forgive me.
I could not keep my promise, but upon thinking about it... Perhaps it was a promise I never had hope of keeping. Human hands can not pull a life out of Death's, no matter how great the love, the sacrifice, or the pain of loss. But don't for a moment mistake this sentiment, my love. I regret absolutely nothing, least of all taking you away from that wretched place at all.

For now, my love, the pain I could not ease is gone. Don't worry about me. I will live.

I will continue my work.

I will always remember you.

You must forgive me my tears, for I fear they may never dry. You would always get so upset when I cried, because you didn't think you were worthy of being mourned. I'm afraid I cannot promise you to try to hold it back as I had before, Emil.

I will visit every single day, and I will cry as I have every day before and as I will every day to come. There is no greater, no more intimate measure of love, my dear, than that of the tears shed in loss.

 

You must be tired, my Emil... You fought so long, so hard, and so bravely. When I think of the life forced upon you by the heartless, evil people in your youth, I can scarce imagine how any sane person’s conscience can erode so... How could anyone allow it? You were always innocent of all of it, but you were trained to think it was all you were worth.

My dear, beloved boy...

 

You will be with me forever.
This, I swear.

 

There is still hope. A faint one, a fragile one. I should have known better than to think you truly would leave me with nothing.

 

Sleep peacefully, Emil. Smile upon me from whichever part of Heaven you now live in, because I cannot follow just yet.

 

 

It seems I have a bit more work to do.