These hands, not fit for holding
hiding, florence and the machine
He wonders, once late at night, whether he’ll ever see her again. It is a brief moment of weakness, of letting his heart, the most trivial of organs, rule his head.
It is only a flash, a second of consideration – but even that is more than she deserves, after what she has done to him; how she’d made his life crumble just for entertainment. For enjoyment. She does not deserve his thoughts, or his time, for they are better used elsewhere; for solving crimes and finding the truth and answers where most people only find confusion and misdirection. They are all blind and he is not.
He wonders if he’ll ever see her again, because even the great Sherlock Holmes is susceptible to the workings of the human heart, even though it is the only thing he is yet to understand. He mastered most of what world had to offer easily, and without difficulty.
He has not mastered the feelings – such a petty and underwhelming word – he had held for her, and, loath to admit it, still feels in moments when his defences are down. She is an enigma, something he has failed to understand – and that in itself is a rarity, which in turn makes her all the more fascinating. It makes him hate her even more, too – not only has she betrayed him and stolen what was his, she has also managed to do it in a way he can not help but admire, like mind to like mind. It is such a contradiction, such a mess, that it makes his head throb.
But really, it is simple, is it not? She makes him human, and he will not admit it. He does not follow the regimens of society, he cares little for social conventions or manners or any thing like that. But by falling in love – well, that makes him no better than the rest.
And, really, all he wants is to be was better than the rest, because he is not ordinary, he is Sherlock Holmes.
A letter, landing on the mat. Eyes, hungry and hopefully, fall to the floor, where the light in them flickers. A pale blue envelope lies; on it scrawly, almost illegible handwriting.
A dead woman’s handwriting.
The letter disappears, and goes somewhere only he knows.
He never writes back.
(Correction, he almost never writes back)
It’s a Tuesday. She crafts difficult questions, with the ease and grace of crossword clues.
Fourteen across; if love is futile, as we all know it be, why it is something people endeavour to have?
Three down; knowing what we know about the human condition, why would any one trust another soul?
And so it goes.
She asks him to visit her once.
She’s just as susceptible to the workings of the human heart as he is, it seems.
He imagines her pen, stroking the paper, the words in her head spilling out.
Why write if he (not quite) never replies? A futile task, or a shout in to the void of hope, or just something to keep the days from seeming quite so intolerable? She did once say, to quote her, that the ‘days were long in this grey place’.
Or is there some second level he doesn’t understand, where she is still playing him like the games she says she sees the world as. He should never under estimate her, for that is the day the world begins to crumble again.
He sighs, and turns back to the real world, where Joan is ready at the door with her coat, waiting to catch a killer.
When the world is black and white, like it is to Joan, these problems never seem to occur.
Sometimes he wishes he was a little more ordinary, not that he’d ever breathe that to soul. It is too personal, an admission of defeat at the biggest and most important game, (damn, her and her games!) life.
But if he were normal, then emotions, like love he felt for her, would not be the exception. He would love, like Joan, his family, and he would have friends, whom he could trust. He would have someone to turn to when he had troubles, or to ask about things that confused him. Even if it might be dull, or easy, life would be black and white. People would be simple, and life would be simple.
He wishes to be ordinary (only in his most melancholy moments, of course) because then he would not hurt quite so much and he wouldn’t be quite so alone.
What he sees in Joan saddens him, too, when he is in this frame of mind. Where she once had friends, she now has no-one. Andrew had been a failed experiment that had ended in guilt and anguish. She is becoming like him and he is unsure whether he wishes that upon anyone.
The familiar buzz in his chest. A case solved.
He knows now why he must be extraordinary.
It’s the way he is, and the way he must be.
There is no reason to consider another existence.
She told him once – no,she did not but Irene the fictitious did, that the world is always turning, always moving, and nothing ever stays the same, that something’s always different, and that meant that people were never the same, that they were constantly changing too, even if they didn’t realise it.
Only now, looking back, he sees the secrets bleeding through.
When he thinks back to London, (which he does infrequently, but more than he likes to admit) there is always a hint of what might have been running through his memories, even though he knows the memories themselves are manipulated, controlled by her and her plans.
Some of it must be true, some of it, no matter how small, some of it must have been real.
He clings to that.
((Was everything a lie?
Yes, my dear Sherlock, it was.))
He stands on the roof of his brownstone. He thinks about the world turning, and about letters that come in pale blue envelopes on Tuesdays and crossword questions. He thinks about being ordinary, and about the truth and about the black and white world other people seem to live in.
Then, with a shake of his head, it all disappears, falling back into the box it came from.
Joan is yet again standing by the door with her coat, waiting to catch a killer.
They are trivial matters. He will not think about them again.
(not for a while, at least)