Sunday, August 6

Once more.

August 2082

Two years now and I’ve found you. The world has found you again. There you are. That reporter, she outed you. The great pilot has gone into space to protect the lifeline. That’s what she said and you nodded but you looked like you’d been shot as they pointed the camera right at your face.

I don’t think that’s why you went there.

I am going to go there. I need to ask you why.

Friday, November 18

It's been a year.

November 18, 2081

You’ve been gone a year and I keep thinking about you. The first time I told you to leave, I didn’t spare a moment thinking about you. I cut you off clean. But this time something is different.

No one knows where you are. The talk shows that used to love you are confused; not even your agent can find you. Your face has started to appear on tabloid covers alongside Elvis. The men and women who called you a hero are lost and confused like a mass of walking wounded.

Where did you go?

Friday, September 24

It seems different now.

September 24, 2080

He came and went last night. I am so confused.

He was sober, at least as sober as I’d seem him in a while. He looked so nervous standing there outside my door. Nervous and miserable: it was raining and it looked like he’d walked a long way. This time I didn’t just let him in, though, no matter how much he was shivering. No matter that his arms were shaking so hard the metal parts were clinking together. I stood firm, at first.

“Go away,” I told him. “I don’t know what it was that made you think you were allowed back in my life before and I don’t care. You are not welcome here, David. Get out!”

“I deserve that.” He said with the dull voice of a bored newscaster talking about an uneventful day.

“You don’t even know how to show remorse, do you?”

“That’s all I know how to do anymore.” He said with that same straightforward tone.

“Get out of my life, David.” I felt something heavy shift in my heart when I said that. Can’t I just be free from the mistake of caring for him?

He looked down. “Did a letter come?”

The letter. Finally I would be rid of it and him. “Stay right there!” I commanded him. I grabbed the letter off the table (It wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be. Maybe it was just weighing down on my mind.) and threw it at him. He caught it and tore it open with a dexterity that those big fingers simply should not have, and seemed to just read one sentence on the whole thing.

He looked up with a smile that I’ve never seen before. A real smile,

unforced and happy.

“I’m sorry,” He said, and seemed to mean it more than any of the times he said it when he’d done something stupid while drunk. “I didn’t want to. I just… no one would think of looking here, or asking you. I’ll go now.”

And he did go. He’s gone.

I don’t know what to think. I thought I would just be happy. But I’m not.

I’m not anything.

Tuesday, September 21

I haven't thrown it away yet...

September 21, 2080

It’s still there on the table. I don’t look at it but I feel it sitting there when I come home at night. My palms itch and I want to pick it up and tear it open to find out what’s inside. It’s probably nothing. I’m getting worked up over nothing. He probably doesn’t even remember he was here the other night. Why would he?

Thursday, September 16

Why won't you leave me alone?

September 16, 2080

Any relief I might have felt at his departure is gone now, replaced by dread in the form of a big white envelope sitting on my kitchen table addressed to “David Severn.” Him. Why would he have someone send one letter to me? He must still get hundreds of fan letters every day. I feel him, now, standing right behind my shoulder. I want to push him away even though he isn’t really here. I should throw that letter away and… and move. Move somewhere wherehe can’t find me anymore. I couldn’t take his drinking then and I can’t…

I can’t let him get to me again. I can’t hold him up. With those arms, shouldn’t he be able to hold himself up? I’ll give him a few days, then I’ll just throw it away. If he comes for it, he can have it, but I’m going to tell him never to come near me again. Even he should be able to get that through his thick head.

Monday, September 13

The next day

September 13, 2080

He’s gone. I don’t quite know what I feel right now. We didn’t even say anything to each other.

I feel like I just walked away from a train wreck, miraculously unharmed. It's either that or I was dreaming: the only evidence that he was even here is the smell of sour beer on my sheets.

Sunday, September 12

I need to talk to someone who can't hear me.

September 12, 2080.

It’s funny how we pretend that life is never going to throw us off track. Every time I pull a shift in the ER, I see red, wet results of random car crashes. I help stabilize a kid who fell out of a tree onto something sharp and metal. I see endless examples of life’s random cruelty. But do I ever think to myself "today something unexpected and painful will happen to you, Hannah." No, of course not. It hasn't for a long time. Well, until tonight that is. Tonight I came back from a twelve hour shift intent on sleeping for a thousand years. I was going to lounge around in bed until kingdom come!

That is, until my doorbell rang. I could have – should have – ignored it, but there’s always the fear: what if it’s something important? This time it was important and I still wish I had ignored it. But I didn’t, and there he was back again, standing in my doorway. Huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf.

I wanted to say “Do you remember me yelling at you two years ago? Do you feel anything at all? You didn’t even try to apologize afterwards; you just disappeared into your world of talk show suck ups and endless product endorsement checks.” But it’s hard to yell at someone who can hardly standu p straight. He’d jumped feet first into one of his drinking binges again and could hardly stand. I could have just told him to go away. I could have slammed the door and let him die in a gutter.Two years ago I might have been angry enough to do that but the doctor instincts kicked in and I just turned and let him stumble in.

He’s passed out on my bed now as I type this on my Dad’s old journal software that can’t seem to get the years right anymore. He is motionless “Like a patient etherized upon a table.” (Thanks, Dad. I never can look at an unconsious patient without thinking that.) Even when he’s asleep he can’t help but act like those arms are weighing him down and dragging him underwater.

I hope he’s gone when I wake up. I don’t want to yell at him anymore. I don’t want him to tell me I’m his safe harbor. I haven’t been that for him in two years. I can’t go back to that.