Archive: Please ask first I might say yes.
Disclaimer: I wish I could claim them as my own but until that time arrives I will have to be content to borrow. The pleasure I am certain is entirely mine.
Author's Note: Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, Christina Rossetti, C.S. Lewis, R.S. Thomas and numerous biblical writers, lent me their words.
Thanks to LSI for her beta-work, sorry about the comma issues... I've been told many a time before.
Summary: Witness the woman who loved a man so wretchedly and dishonestly that she could not be at rest until she defiled him; she forced him to lie with her, and afterwards, to make up the measure of her wickedness, she hated him more than she had ever loved him before.
I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners, to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed,
That sense was breaking through.
It was just a flash. Cold steel blazed a jagged path across the room and heated itself with momentum. By the time it found the delicate cavity of his chest, it was molten. The pain burst before her eyes and bloomed suddenly across his face. It was then that time stopped ticking.
And when they all were seated,
A service like a drum
Kept beating, beating, till I thought
My mind was going numb.
The angry crimson stain spread quickly over his shirt and clumsy hands could not stem the flow. Now the crying began. In waves that rolled with an unrelenting beat against the shore of her cheeks. It was not helping him, but she could not stop even as the tears began to cloud her vision.
And then I heard them lift a box,
And creak across my soul
With those same boots of lead, again.
Then space began to toll
A girl sat whimpering in the corner, but they were too preoccupied to care. Her with the brightness of his blood, and him with dying. It descended in a steady flood which trickled over her fingers. Warm like a slaughtered animal beautified for the plate of a dignified diner.
As all the heavens were a bell,
And being but an ear,
And I and silence some strange race,
Wrecked, solitary, here.
Then her mouth opened and sound poured forth. So it was there they found Sara, screaming like a banshee, soaked in the lost life of Nicky Stokes.
Abide with me, fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens, Lord with me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee
Help of the helpless. Oh abide with me.
It was singing in her ears. The voice was her own and it mixed with those gathered around her. Clusters of people, disjointed groups, huddled inside of a tiny church. A single thread running through them all had brought the congregation together and would now tear them apart with its absence.
Nicholas James Stokes was a beloved son, brother and friend. In death he was as valiant as in life. Striving once again to protect another. He is a hero and that is how we must remember him. I am certain the world which awaits him is far better than our own. We commend his body up to our heavenly Father and pray for his sweet release.
They were just words. Sara was sure the minister must have voiced them hundreds of times before, and though he was sincere in his delivery, the speech had lost its lustre. It was not what she wanted to hear. It was not Nick's voice echoing in her ear. It was not his resurrection. It was not good enough.
Nick was my friend. No. He was more than that. He was my best friend . I can't believe he's gone and I'm still here. He gets no more chances and I get the rest of my lifetime. It doesn't seem fair. I watched him pass away. It happened long before his time and that makes me angry. I just wish I could have said goodbye, but I was too busy thinking about my own pain. I should have told him everyday how much he meant to me, but I didn't. Instead I stand here now delivering my little tribute and all I can say is that I miss him almost unbearably so, and I will never ever forget.
She sat back down in the decrepit pew and felt the light pressure of a hand over hers. But the clamped embrace of slender digits could not disperse the suffocating blanket of isolated grief that hovered over Sara like a holy plague. Still, Catherine smiled obliviously, blinking back the sorrow which threatened to spill down her face in messy streaks.
A time to be born, and a time to die... A time to kill, and a time to heal... A time to weep, and a time to laugh... A time to mourn, and a time to dance... A time to get, and a time to lose... A time to love, and a time to hate... I have seen the travail which God hath given to the sons of men... I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice and to do good in his life.
It was a stony face. One void of any show of emotion. The only thing that would not betray her. For Sara had not cried since that day he had died, and would not do so again as long as she could help it. She floated through the service and the cemetery like the spirit of Nick himself, but a steady set of eyes were fixed on her throughout, burning blue within her darkness.
Wore me like a silken knot,
Changed me like a glove;
So now I moan, an unclean thing,
Who might have been a dove.
She did not want to talk about it. Sara only wanted to know if he would hold her until she fell asleep. So, reluctantly Grissom had agreed because she was hurting and it was the least that he could do. But from the very beginning something was out of place. He felt it in the purposeful stroking of her fingers.
The neighbours call you good and pure,
Call me an outcast thing.
Even so I sit and howl in dust,
You sit in gold and sing:
At first Sara thought she was trying to capture a piece of his forgiveness. She wanted her heart to be as big as his, but the kisses failed to take the hate away. It burned with more fervour than ever before, and contorted itself into loathing. As Grissom entered her gently, it spread itself outwards and encapsulated him too.
"Get up, and get out." Sara voiced with the calculated coldness of an ice queen.
She pushed his naked body away from her and turned from the sting of his face. There was stuttering as he redressed, then confusion as he made his way to her front door looking like an angel in his funeral suit. Evident pain transcribed itself across the lines of his face, as Sara firmly rejected him with the slam of oak and final click of a metal lock.
When great souls die,
The air around us becomes
Light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
A hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
Gnaws on kind words
Sara spoke only when she was spoken to and even then her tone was harsh. It was a scraping of words roughly forged together. Eventually she would work alone in the silence of the layout room. In a solitude that was never intentional. She longed for the company of others, but they would only serve to remind her of what was missing--- Nick.
Great souls die and
Our reality, bound to
Them, takes leave of us.
Dependant upon their nurture,
Now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
And informed by their
We are not so much maddened
As reduced to the unutterable ignorance
Of dark, cold
It seemed to her that no matter how hard she tried, the stains on her hands would never be cleaned. Sara became a modern day Lady Macbeth, awoken at night by her own strangled howls of unease. Crying for release. Until the nights evolved into days, spurning weeks which finally broadened into months that she tallied on her walls.
Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not,
Through the murky depths of her own discontent, she witnessed the healing of others. It confused and enraged her that they could be so humble. Slowly she became the flip-side of their piety. She was steadily sinking into the abhorrence of all that her friends had forgiven; the killer and the innocent victim. Sara did not attend the trial, and refused to bear witness.
It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.
Of course there was one face in particular that Sara could not stand to see. When Grissom's gaze fell on her, it burned with an intensity that scorched the frost of her skin, and she fled from the warmth. The glare. The heat. It was only from time to time that she would allow herself to recall the second before she had banished him so wickedly from her life. It was the instant he had loved her completely.
I measure every grief I meet
With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
Or has an easier size.
A pile of unidentified remains brought her back. There was something different about her on which Sara could not put her finger. It seemed she had a sadness that could almost match her own. Tragic loss circled like a bird pf prey, and it was Catherine who finally alleviated the mystery when she disclosed the fact that Terri Miller's husband had died.
I wonder if they bore it long,
Or did it just begin?
I could not tell the date of mine,
It feels so old a pain.
Sara watched her work. She was bent over the autopsy table speaking into a Dictaphone. Terri's voice had lost its knowing edge, and she seemed less sure of the facts she divulged. After sensing Sara's approach she looked up and surveyed her sympathetically. They exchanged the expected condolences yet she seemed unsurprised that the gossip mill had scattered, so quickly, the ashes of her life.
I wonder if it hurts to live,
And if they have to try.
And whether, could they choose between,
They would not rather die.
The case closed itself with the arrival of the tormented murderer and there seemed no reason left for Terri to stay. But nevertheless, Sara found her hovering outside of Grissom's office poised to knock. The new woman that she had become felt no guilt in eavesdropping, and so she listened intently. The fury that had been dormant for awhile returned afresh at the sound of Terri's whispered request of a position in Vegas.
Two mutual tormentors, each raw all over with the poison of hate-in-love.
She would be taking Nick's place. It was shouted loud at the top of her lungs into Grissom's face. He recoiled as if stung by her contempt. There seemed no way he could explain; Sara was unable to grasp this foreign concept of moving on. Her empathy became destructive. Greg would be joining the team as a full CSI and Terri had been placed in the morgue with Doc Robbins. It was simple, to him.
Each ravenous to receive and implacably refusing to give, jealous.
Sara wanted to know if he was looking for a good screw; If she had left him wanting more, but with no-one around to deliver. It was out of line, but she could not find it in herself to care. She wanted to hurt him. Make him feel the way she felt. Make him bleed to better sympathise. Rack him with the guilt that she felt in order to share the burden.
Determined to be free and to allow no freedom.
Grissom stopped listening. He tuned out the bitter shriek of her voice as he told her to go home. She left amidst a flurry of passionate insults, and it was only after her tempered departure that he allowed himself to think back upon the smile she used to own. The one that had warmly illuminated rooms which now lay in morbid darkness.
Reality never repeats... that is what we should all like. The happy past restored.
Sara sat watching without seeing. The same pews. The same church. The same blasphemous man of God. Today there was no coffin in front of the assembly. It had long since been placed in the ground. A year ago today, she repeated to herself like a mantra, as she wondered when the hurting would finally stop.
And that, just that , is what I cry out for...
She lit her candle following its flickering dance with her eyes. Haunted by its reflection. Profound words of wisdom were once again spoken in an attempt to soothe them like a balm into numbness. The others clung to tissues like drowning sailors tugging frantically at flimsy lifelines. Sara did not dampen her face with wasted tears that no-one would ever understand.
With mad, midnight endearments and entreaties, spoken into the empty air.
Once again restored to the safety of her bedroom, she slid down beneath a heavy weight of sheet. It was then that Sara began to shake with a rattling magnitude that spread in waves across her womb-like enclosure. The sorrow arrived and clung to her heart almost like the twist of a knife or possibly the searing greed of Nicky's bullet.
Heart, we will forget him!
You and I, tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave,
I will forget the light.
She saw them together. It was outside a mini golf course. Sara tried hard not to look surprised, even managing a tense wave of acknowledgement. She had been told. Everybody had warned her. They all said the same thing in hushed conspiratorial tones as though secret war plans were being discussed. Terri and Grissom. The combination of names rolled like acid off of her tongue.
When you have done, pray tell me,
That I my thoughts may dim;
Haste! Lest while you're lagging,
I may remember him!
Later that night in his office, she saw him battle over his words. There was no need to go into detail. Sara did not want to know. She hoped that they would be very happy together. She wanted Grissom to get on with his life. All the things she said quickly without meaning a word, and he knew she was lying, but he took them anyway because it was all she was willing to give him.
I sleep, but my heart waketh;
It is the voice of my beloved
Her time was spent picking at signs, observing them both for betraying glances of affection or worse, of love. Just when Sara had assumed the ache and the venomous working of her mind could grow no greater, they blossomed into a spite made up of such inky blackness that it was impossible to hide. Catherine tried to talk to her, but finally gave up, unable to tolerate the profanities returned.
I have put off my coat;
How shall I put it on again?
I have washed my feet;
How shall I defile them?
Sara had been reduced to adolescent games. The calls Grissom would receive, ending after only a few rings, were hers. The pointless excursions to his office for files that had mysteriously ceased to exist. The brushing up against him whenever they worked alone. Together. Close by one another. In secret like a clandestine letter--- read with shame but never thrown away.
I opened to my beloved;
But my beloved had withdrawn himself,br>
And was gone...
Finally he asked. There was the gentle grasp of her wrist while she twisted and contorted to be loose, almost breaking down with panic. Grissom would not let her go. Sara was afraid then, not of him, but of herself as she struck him hard across the face and cursed his name aloud for all to hear. She didn't know what he was talking about. She hadn't been toying with him. On and on, she lied.
My soul failed when he spake:
I sought him,
But I could not find him
I called him,
But he gave me no answer.
Then came a calm. It stilled the lab for days, and when the winds rose up again a shift occurred. There were no more dinners. No more dates. No more movie trips. Terri was leaving just as she had arrived, because of a stack of bones. In Utah. Now after thinking it frigid and deathlike for so long, Sara's heart denied the claim by giving the tiniest of flutters which her pride stamped out with a blasting vengeance.
I charge you...
If ye find my beloved,
That ye tell him,
That I am sick of love.
It happened one Friday in spring. Sara had stopped in the break room to satisfy her caffeine cravings, and for some inexplicable reason after two years of nothingness, Greg made a pass at her. And she laughed. Hard and loud, for the first time in an eternity of sadness, but as soon as she realised herself, a crushing slap of guilt arrived; later in the barren toilet stall her voice rang out with racking sobs.
Remorse is memory awake,
Her companies astir,-
She came to his grave to lay flowers down. Sara hated the thought of leaving him there in an earthy cage of consuming predators. For a moment she allowed herself to wonder over his destination, and in that brief second did not dismiss the lingering presence she felt in the air. If it was possible, he was close. If it was not, then she would cling blindly to that hope, nevertheless.
A presence of departed acts
At window and at door.
A voice was softly calling for her attention, and she turned to face the owner. It was the girl. The huddling thing in the corner, all grown up with the most beautiful newborn Sara had ever seen in her life. She began to say how grateful she was and how great her life had turned out and how she came to visit the grave of her saviour as often as she could. And Sara let fall the weeping forgiveness she had thought would never arrive.
Take me, accept me, love me as I am;
Love me with my disordered wayward past.
Love me with all the lusts that hold me fast.
Sara was at Grissom's door, frantically knocking until she saw his sleepy face appear. Her hug was fierce and knocked them backwards into his townhouse. His arms enfolded her and she sighed with years of unbearable grief. He gathered her up in his embrace and carried her towards the open door of his bedroom.
Love me as flesh and blood, not the ideal
Which vainly you imagine me to be;
Love me the mixed-up creature that you see.
This time she was scared. So afraid that they had lost the beauty in their first disastrous plunder. That she had used up his passion for her and that all his tenderness was spent. But the hands which walked across her body with light pattering urgency whispered to her of other things, and shone the undeniable light of truth into the cave of her heart.
Beneath my earthy, sordid self, your love
Discerns capacities which rise above
The futile passions of my carnal mind.
The rock of Grissom's consuming rhythm lulled security back into her life. The burden was happier to be borne as it claimed two souls in their union, and the sparking wrench when he withdrew from inside of her caused Sara to hold his crushing weight upon her chest until breathing became an alien concept. That night no star-crossed lover was shown the door, and peacefully they slept.
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