Behind the Dark Curtain
Over the past two days I’ve been very destructive. I’ve been destroying things in the house that normally have a lot of sentimental value to them. Mostly his things, because the pain that happens when I see them is becoming too much. I started in the bathroom, throwing out all of his toiletries that were still here, and moved onto the bedroom. The little personal belongings that were lying around are all gone. His clothes, I think I will donate somewhere, just to get them out of the house; none of it fits me right anyway, not that I’d wear them. Too many memories. His computer, I’m ready to take back to work – it’s theirs anyway. I have my own, set up the way I like my computer to be set up, so there is no reason for his to be here any longer.
The burning of that first photo was liberating. I realized that I could escape the pain by ridding myself of all the little parts of him that are in my life. He’s not here anymore. His things don’t need to be either, especially if they make me upset. I’ve burned most of the photos that were in the frame now, the ones of Heero and I, and for a little while at least, I felt better. For a little while I went through the rest of the house gathering up things to get rid of, taking pleasure in their destruction, be it by burning, smashing or ripping to shreds. Expending that energy was therapeutic, but I’ve run out of things to destroy.
As good as it all felt, though, now, today, I’m sitting here in the living room and I’m completely empty. Second-guessing myself now, I suppose. Wondering whether I did the right thing by destroying Heero’s things. The pictures…how could I burn the pictures? I lean forward, holding my head in my hands, and stare at the carpet. Those pictures were the only way I had to see him again, and now they’re gone. Gone, because I’ve completely lost it. Sitting up, my breath hitches in my chest and I force away the oncoming barrage of tears that wants to be let out. You’ve really done it now, haven’t you? Now he’s gone, and so is everything else. Every reminder. Every last trace of him. I even washed his pillowcase in my desire to get rid of all remnants of Heero. Not that the pillowcase was that special, but still, if I breathed really deep into it, I could detect a faint scent of his hair. It was still his. Now it’s nothing.
I talked to Quatre earlier – called him myself this time, because I’m so close to flaking out. He said that I looked worse than he’s seen me yet, and that he was going to come by again. I’m waiting for him to get here now – should only be another few hours. He’s going to insist in inpatient therapy for me this time. I’m not going to be able to argue with him. He’s bringing Trowa this time, I’ll assume to provide the needed muscle to subdue me when they try to force me into therapy, so I can be brainwashed into pretending that I can live without Heero. I love you, Heero. I wish so badly that you hadn’t died… look what’s happened since you’ve gone. Look at me. They’re going to lock me away because I can’t stop loving you, Heero. God, I wish you hadn’t died.
Shaking my head at myself, I stand up and go to the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator door, I take out a glass of orange juice, one that’s been poured for hours but I haven’t drank yet, and I look at it momentarily before closing the refrigerator door. Going back out of the kitchen I catch a glimpse of Quatre’s pill vial out of the corner of my eye, and I rush out of the room, headed upstairs. The juice sloshes in the glass as I make my way to the bedroom, but I manage not to spill any of it, despite the way that my hands are shaking.
It’s late afternoon by the color of the sky peeking through the mini-blinds in the bedroom; the alarm clock on the nightstand tells me that it’s just after four. Putting the juice on the nightstand beside me, I take my journal out from the drawer, pull out a pen, and settle myself onto the bed, seated and leaning against the headboard. Looking across the room to the picture collage that still hangs, a twang of emotion runs through me as I miss the important ones – the ones of me and Heero – since I’ve burned all of those. The ones in the box, too. The only photos left are ones of the other pilots, the few remnants of what has become a charred memory of the past. I look back down and start writing.
As my thoughts are flowing from my mind to the page, I remember again that Quatre is due in a few hours now. He and Trowa. They aren’t going to be pleased when they see the state of things here today – the parts of burned pictures in the bathroom and all of the other things that I’ve messed up. It’s only going to make his case that much stronger, that I need to be locked away, where the only thing I’ll be able to do is remember Heero in my mind, until they drug me and then I can’t even do that. I don’t know why they insist on trying to make me forget the one person who has made me the happiest in my whole life. I just don’t know. I know they think they’ll be helping, but it won’t help at all. It will just make me that much more unhappy.
Finishing my entry in my journal, I put the pen down on the nightstand, and the book aside on the bed next to me. I lean over and take the still ignored glass of juice and drink it down in one effort, then replace it empty to the nightstand. The journal I slide over on the bed, then get under the covers. It’s early for bed, I know, but I want to cozy up as I think of Heero one last time. My journal remains open to today’s entry, and I sleep.
Sunday, September 27, AC 203
I already know that by the time you get around to reading this, you are going to be feeling pretty bad. Please read these words that I have to say, though, and believe them, because they are the truth. I could never leave you without the truth, because you are my best friend, so here it is.
I know this will be painful for you and everyone else, but Quatre, I am in more pain that I can even describe, and it isn’t going to go away, no matter how I try to push it away. I’ve lived in pain my entire life, Cat; I know these things. It’s just gotten to the point where it’s become too much to live with. I don’t want to spend the rest of my existence pining after my dead husband. I’m missing too many people in my life to be missing him too. Trust me, it’s better this way. I made this decision with a clear mind, after weeks of thought. It’s better for me this way, because I’ll be free of all the pain in my life. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll catch up with Heero, too. You never know the way those things work.
I’m going to count on your understanding me, and not blaming yourself for this. I know you’ll soon realize that I did this with the valium you left here a few days ago, but I don’t want you to feel responsible. You didn’t “help” me do this. You only provided a way for me to do it painlessly and cleaner. Think about that, if you will, and then understand my gratitude for not having to decorate the bedroom wall with my handgun, and leave behind scene that I know you wouldn’t want to see. Yes, I still have a handgun in the closet.
I’ve left some information for you on the kitchen table. Some loose ends of mine, if you wouldn’t mind taking care of them. There is also a letter for Sally Po, one for Tro, another for Wufei, and one for Lady Une. I just felt that it was necessary to personally explain myself to them, since they’ve been so supportive of me through Heero’s death. I wanted to thank them for their love and care, and let them know that this decision had nothing to do with anything that anyone didn’t do for me. It’s the way I’ve decided to escape the pain of losing the love of my life.
I know you said earlier in the week that you didn’t want to lose another friend unnecessarily, Cat, but unfortunately, I was lost the day that Heero died. I think you knew this as well. I’m sorry to exit your life like this, but I know that you’ll manage. You always do, and I admire that. You have an inner strength that you should be very proud of, and likewise, I’m proud to have known you. You’re one of the greatest people I’ve known. Stay that way.
Cat, it’s getting late, and I need to do this well in advance of your arrival here. I know you well enough to realize that no heroics are too much for you, so I’ll say my good-byes now. It’s a little after five o’clock.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for everything you’ve done for me and Heero, and above all, please remember that I’m feeling no pain where I am now.
Your friend forever,
When Treize found me today, once again transfixed before the collage picture frame hanging on the bedroom wall, I turned to him and it was obvious that I’d shed tears. It was still such a foreign thing to me, crying like this, since for so long all I did was hold the pain, any pain, back, but some things, I’ve learned, warrant it. This was one of them. The pictures in the frame – all of them of Duo and I – were gone, having lit up magically and burned themselves into nothingness right before my eyes.
As he approaches me, I can sense a concern in him that I haven’t noticed before. “Heero,” Treize says, placing his hand on my shoulder the way he does, and pulling gently to turn me to face him. “Something has happened.” His light blue eyes hold genuine sadness this time, and this condition in Treize bothers me. Glancing back, I look to the picture frame that no longer holds our memories.
“Duo…” The mention of Duo’s name this time startles me, and I turn abruptly to face Trieze again. “Duo has taken his own life.”
The words hit me like a ton of bricks. I blink. For a long time, for minutes, I just stand and stare at Trieze, trying to comprehend what he just said. My eyes get moist as a complete sorrow flows through me. “God… No.” It’s all I can say.
“I’m sorry, Heero. This is very unfortunate. I never expected anything this serious to happen.”
“I told you, Trieze. The bond that we had…the closeness we shared…” My words are slow and deliberate as I consider what has occurred, and a numbness begins to reside in my being as I try to comprehend the situation. “This is all my fault. The pain I’ve caused him…”
Treize drops his head to break our eye contact. “This is a very bad turn of events, I’m afraid.”
A thought suddenly pops into my head, encouraging me. I search Treize’s face for answers. “Duo’s dead. Treize, does that mean…?”
“Where is he?”
“He’s not here, Heero.” He looks up to meet my eyes, pain filling his.
“What do you mean he’s not here?” Arrogance laces my voice this time. “This is Heaven. You said it yourself that nearly every person winds up here. Duo’s dead now…where is he? When can we be together?”
“You don’t understand…”
“You SAID this was Heaven, Treize!” Surprising even myself this time, my voice is near-frantic, portraying the anguish and pain that has converged on my heart. “Where’s Duo?!”
Forcing himself to remain calm, Treize looks me straight in the face and says “You won’t get to see him, Heero. I’m sorry but…”
“What do you mean, I wont get to see him? Why not?”
“Heero, he took his own life. Suicide… suicides don’t… come here.”
Stunned, I ponder the words for many long moments. “You mean…”
“When a person takes their own life, it changes the path of order, the path that was laid out for them. They’ve disrupted their lifepath, and everyone else’s. They go to another place, Heero.”
“To Hell? You mean to tell me that Duo has gone TO HELL? ” My voice is loud now, and I feel as though I could explode any moment, either from the adrenaline coursing through me, or the pain attacking me. No. Impossible. Duo cannot have gone to Hell. Just because he always joked about it, that he would eventually go to Hell for all the things that he’d done wrong in his short life, it was always just that; a joke. A joke, for Christ’s sake. A joke that he was the reincarnate of death himself. A goddamn JOKE! That doesn’t mean that it’s really going to happen to him, right? I won’t accept it. I can’t believe that. “Treize?”
“There is nothing I can do, Heero. It’s out of my hands,” he says, attempting in whatever feeble way to comfort me. It does little good.
“What… what will happen to him?”
“He won’t realize. That’s the good part of it… that he won’t realize where he is. But he also won’t understand that he’s dead, and whatever pain,” he pauses. “Whatever anguish he was feeling at the time that he died… it will stay with him.” Trieze turns away.
“You mean he’s going to live in eternal suffering, because he killed himself due to the pain he was experiencing because of my death?”
A few moments pass before I hear Trieze whisper. “Yes.” He’s staring blankly out the bedroom window, out to the beautiful landscape of trees and birds and flowers that suddenly seemed completely washed out and invisible to me. Then he drops his head and turns away from me.
New tears spring to my eyes, and I clamp them closed, trying to confine my emotion. Choking back a lump that has formed in my throat, a sob gets past me in a forced whimper. When I open my eyes, fresh droplets fall from my eyelashes with my opening lids. “No,” I say in complete denial, the sound coming out more like a croak than a word, until I manage to force it out again, only this time I scream it. “NO!”
“I’m sorry, Heero. I really am.” Trieze sighs heavily, his expression sympathetic to the influx of emotion that he can feel is rushing through me.”
“I have to find him, Trieze. Is it possible to get there?” My fiery blue eyes look up with the hope of a man who needs to make amends, if it is the last thing he does.
“It’s not possible, to bring someone back, Heero.”
“Can we go there?” I insist harshly, my glare becoming menacing this time.
“We can go there, Heero, but no one has ever succeeded in bringing someone back. More likely, the despair of the place will overtake you, and you’ll become part of that world, unable to return yourself. It’s not something that is easily withstood, the sorrow that resides there.”
My mind calculates the risk and decides quickly. “Even if it means eternity in Hell, Treize, I have to try. I’m willing to take the risk.”
“Heero, I cannot support this decision. I really wish you’d reconsider.” The man is becoming visibly more uncomfortable with the direction the conversation has gone in. “No one else has ever had success…”
“Those people aren’t me.”