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Midnight

Reply to Demoira

Added to the Roswell Slash Archive September 14, 2002

Title: Midnight
By: Demoira
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: L/T
Disclaimer: Li'l ole harmless me doesn't have anything you want, even if you did want to sue. I don't own them, sometimes don't want to, mostly just want to see endless beautiful images of happy women together. However, JK, Melinda Metz, et al, have all the say and I have none.
Summary: A bond formed at the last minute that will last forever, or until Midnight.
Spoilers: Just be aware of the events of EOTW.



October 28, 2014

Liz

Almost fourteen years.

Five thousand one hundred and eleven days to be exact.

One hundred twenty-two thousand six hundred and sixty-four hours.

Seven million three hundred fifty-nine thousand eight hundred and forty minutes.

I stopped counting the seconds when I reached thirty-one million five hundred thirty-six thousand. Did you know that's how many seconds are in a year? I didn't until I started counting.

Thirty-one million five hundred thirty-six thousand seconds.

Give me a moment and I'll figure it out: four hundred forty-one million five hundred ninety thousand four hundred seconds. But that will change too quickly for it to matter.

Five thousand one hundred and eleven days.

That long since The Day. October 30th, 2000. Not a very interesting date.

I lost my Journal somewhere in the middle of all the days and hours and minutes and seconds. Years. I prefer to count things in days. Years get lost in the days.

I think I lost my Journal on the two thousand one hundred and ninety-third day. The day of the moving van. Two days after the six-year anniversary of my ultimate betrayal. Two days after the six-year anniversary of my ultimate act of loyalty. Six years, two days after The Day.

Loyalty. Betrayal. They really don't mean much, you know. They are these absurd ideas that you hold up and polish occassionally when you don't want to notice that your life is falling apart. They are the china in the glass cabinet that you admire as you stand there unable to bring yourself to clean up the utilitarian dish that you just shattered on the dirty floor. They are the dishes you look at but never use.

Two thousand one hundred and ninety-two days before The Moving Day: I didn't think about anything but The Day during all those other days. But The Moving Day I lost my Journal, and that changed things.

I wish I could tell for sure. I want to mark the date ? count down from it; change my point of origin to that second. Then I could start counting all over again. I think I would like that.

Things get blurry; I begin lying to myself starting with The Day. I can't be sure that The Moving Day was when I lost my Journal.

But that was the day the movers came. The only other option is that I forgot it on The Moving Day. But that would be the same as losing it. Losing. Forgetting. Letting go.

I stopped trying to understand the difference.

You see, on another anniversary it burned down. The Crashdown. My Journal. Unless the Journal really was lost, then it may have survived, and I have to commemorate The Moving Day. I prefer The Burning Day.

The Burning Day was two thousand seven hundred and fifty-three days after The Day. Two thousand three hundred and fifty-eight days ago. May 14th, 2008. It was my Independence Day.

Eight years after The Leaving Day. Two thousand nine hundred and twenty-two days after The Leaving Day. You see, The Leaving Day was one hundred and sixty-nine days before The Day.

I think maybe I left my Journal in my room above the Crashdown on purpose.

I never realized it, but a journal keeps you from talking to yourself. Have you ever noticed that? The tendency to read it aloud is just the need to hear your voice as you reason and sort. Alone. I spent hours ? sixty-two thousand four hundred and twenty-four hours between The Shooting Day and The Moving Day ? writing in that leather-bound book, filling it with me, only to read it back to myself as if it would make me make sense.

She caught me doing that.

Maybe that's why she was the only one who came to see me the day before The Moving Day.

Twenty-four hours. A fraction of all the other hours: point zero-four-six percent of all the time from The Day to The Moving Day. That's how much notice I gave them before I left for the fourth time.

You see, the Days are all exits and endings. The Shooting Day; The Leaving Day; The Day; The Moving Day; The Burning Day. One piece of me at a time I surgically cut myself out of their lives.

The Shooting Day. We didn't know it then, but that's when I began to leave. I became this thing, alive and buzzing and . . . I've never been satisfied with any description I could come up with in my Journal. I called it 'coming to life'. I called it 'chemical'. It took me months, right up to The Leaving Day, to realize that coming to life just makes life more unbearable. You feel more, and you can't deny that all the time you are simply dying. So the exits begin.

I think they knew what I was doing: the surgical removal, healing by cutting. Surgery is a twisted thing. That was why none of them came in the twenty-four hour time span that I gave them; they knew. Nobody came except her.

I think she came because she heard me reading my Journal out loud that once. And she knew what that meant, the need to hear my own voice trying to figure me out. She recognized the loneliness. So she came.

Three minutes and twenty-four seconds to midnight. Three minutes and twenty-four seconds before The Moving Day began. Three minutes and twenty-five seconds before I lost my Journal. Or forgot it. Or let it go.

I stopped trying to understand the difference.

I think maybe I left my Journal in my room above the Crashdown on purpose.

But I can't tell if I left it there for her or because of her. Or not at all.

*****

October 31, 2006

Four minutes and fifty-four seconds to midnight.

I've been trying to decide when it was that I became obsessed with numbers and time passing.

Liz looked up from her journal. Tomorrow the moving van was coming to take her away, and she was thinking about counting minutes and seconds again.

So what is it that I don't want to think about as I notice that it is now four minutes and thirty-six seconds to midnight?

The stars were swirling. They never seemed to stand still anymore. There was a time when Liz had thought of their relationship to her as fixed, ignoring all the proof of science to enjoy their constancy.

I listened to Les Miserables one too many times, obviously.

Somewhere along the way, Liz had decided that she didn't love the stars anymore.

'Somewhere along the way'? I know the exact moment the stars began to swim before my eyes. It was the same night that Quantum Mechanics became plausible: one world ended and another began in a single instant.

Her mouth quirked ironically. At least she hadn't started talking to herself. Instead, she had begun having conversations with herself in her journal.

As long as no one else reads it, what does it matter?

I wonder why I haven't started counting the stars? It would take a lifetime, and I wouldn't finish it. I wouldn't have to think then, but I would have to invent numbers. I don't know of any number beyond a trillion. Quadrillion? It exists. There would be a point when infinity would be the only description available.

I could become lost in infinity.

She looked back up at the stars. Not everyone could sense the subtle shifts of Orion's belt as he cartwheeled around the sky. He used to be her companion ? but now the two of them understood one another too well. Being friendly with anyone who really understood her was hard. They both spent every moment spinning in slow motion; no one else could see it, but they could both sense the spinning.

Her head began to ache as she tried to hold Orion steady in her sights. Some nights they both moved too fast for her eyes.

Four minutes and two seconds to midnight.

I move tomorrow. I wish I knew where the moving van was going to leave me. I mean, I know ? Russian Hill, San Fransisco, an amazingly good deal on an apartment. I have a job waiting for me. College had to be good for something, even if it was accounting, and I studied it at UNM. But I just want to know what it will feel like to stand by as they unpack the moving van. I want to know now so I can make up my mind. Can I do this?

Three minutes and fifty-six seconds to The Moving Day. What don't I want to think about that has me writing down the seconds?

What do I want to think about?

*****

October 28, 2014

Tess

The moment I picked up the Journal was the moment I began counting time.

It was addictive, the flow of numbers moving as swiftly as the flow of seconds. She prefers to count down the time in days. I prefer hours. The days get lost in the hours. And what are years to me? I can't even think of an accurate way to age myself. What am I: centuries, decades, or years old? So I have become the keeper of the hours.

Seventy thousand and fifty-six hours.

It's been that long since I really heard her voice.

Two hours and thirteen minutes. That's how long it has been since I talked with her ? half of a conversation she held in her journal rather than talk out loud to herself. I read them over and over.

Seventy thousand and fifty-six hours. They each are longer than the last. There is no exponential growth in the speed of the minutes. They slow and I can't seem to hurry time along. My counting only keeps me from becoming lost in some infinite second.

I hate the seconds. If you try to count them, they are gone faster than you can mark the hundred and fourteenth; but if you only want to hold your breath for one, the second can grow into an eternity: swallow you whole. Suffocate you.

Two hundred fifty-two million two hundred one thousand six hundred seconds.

Seventy thousand and fifty-six hours.

She called the next day The Moving Day. How do I know this? I talked to her in her Journal. She told me.

I call it The Divorcing Day. It was the day she made it all legal and binding: this emotional seperation from the rest of us. It's worse than a divorce. I don't know if she knew, but her relentless surgical severing was what forced us all together.

While she was leaving, consumed by her exits and endings, we were all standing in the wings, breathless, waiting for our entrances and beginnings. Together. She didn't know. If she had known, she would have laughed.

I know this because she told me. Seventy thousand and fifty-six hours and she tells me that.

I become half of her when I read her Journal. That's why I cried on The Burning Day.

Fifty-six thousand five hundred and ninety-two hours ago. It burned down: the Crashdown. We all stopped believing she would come home from Russian Hill, San Fransisco, an amazingly good deal on an apartment. There was nothing left for her to come home to.

Except her Journal.

No one knows that I have it. I wonder if she left it there for me on The Moving Day. I wonder if she left it there because I understood why she read it out loud. The shock that the person who would understand the sickening feeling of watching Orion slowly spin out of control would be me was strong.

I know that. She didn't have to tell me: the shock that the person who would understand the sickening feeling of watching Orion slowly spin out of control would be her was strong.

It would be enough to make me forget the Journal. Forget it. Lose it. Let it go.

It was enough for her. I know. She told me; I told her.

We talk. Seventy thousand and forty-seven hours and we've talked through every one. A cycle completed and broken: our discussions.

Seventy thousand and fifty-four hours since I picked up this leather-bound book. Seventy thousand and forty-eight hours since I set it down, finished it, pulled her into me. Her Journal. I emptied it of her.

I picked up a pen and began to write for her. Seventy thousand hours since I set a black ballpoint pen to the first of the last twenty-three and a half pages and began to write as neatly and smally as I could.

I wrote about Russian Hill. The brightly-painted and close-set apartment buildings. The cable cars. The view of Alcatraz if you stand in just the right spot. I wrote about Pier 39 and the taste of salt in the air and fudge on ice cream. I wrote about working as an accountant and the cute, annoying, little-brother-type who worked three cubicles down. I wrote of the sun and the rain and the fog.

I wrote about fifty-two thousand five hundred and thirty-six hours ago when it was the eighth anniversary of The Day. How it was celebrated in Chinatown with a guy whose name she will never know but who had great taste in dim sum and a loose wallet.

About the ninth anniversary of The Leaving Day: forty-seven thousand eight hundred and thirty-two hours ago. Marked with four hours in a bar she'll never go to again allowing some guy she wouldn't recognize now grope her.

The tenth anniversary of The Shooting Day: forty-four thousand seven hundred and eighty-four hours ago. Rung in over two and a half hours spent in stiletto heals that hurt like hell and lipstick that made her lips too red, waiting to part her thighs and forget.

I celebrated them each with her as I talked with her shadow in the crinkled parts of her Journal. Tenth, eleventh, twelveth, thirteenth, fourteenth; fifteenth anniversary of The Shooting Day.

Nine-hundred and sixty hours ago. That was a hard one. It could have been a different anniversary. That's all we could think about.

Sometimes the past and the present are only moments away from each other.

Forty-eight hours to the fourteenth anniversary of The Day. I can feel the something in the air that is changing. This is the one that counts.

It will be one hundred twenty-two thousand seven hundred and twelve hours since The Day. This anniversary.

Fifty-six thousand six hundred and forty hours since The Burning Day.

Seventy thousand and eighty hours since The Moving Day.

Two minutes and twelve seconds to midnight. Then it will be ninety-six hours to the eighth anniversary of The Moving Day. The eighth anniversary of our conversation.

Of me finding her Journal. And I want her to come back for her Journal.

This time, it will be me that will be emptied from the leather-bound book into her. This time, she will pick up the ballpoint pen and begin on the first of the last six pages writing as neatly and smally as she can.

She'll count hours, and I'll count days.

This time, I will tell her things about me.

She'll know that I had once been to San Fransisco. I once lived on Russian Hill. I will tell her ? in the conversations that I had with myself for her in her Journal.

Seventy thousand and fifty hours of conversation. For her.

*****

September 17, 2003

The streets of Roswell in the dark were an eerie quiet. It was a small town with a small town dead of the night. The alleys called to Tess at these moments. The quieter moments, the oppressively silent moments, begged for the echoing of footsteps off building walls.

The closer the buildings were together, the louder the echo. The further downtown, the closer the buildings. So she wandered downtown on the oppressively silent nights.

She resisted the urge to stomp to make the echoes even louder.

You're standing in the middle of this really busy place. It could be a classroom, a streetcorner at lunchtime, a restaurant, your own dinner table. It doesn't matter where, because you are standing there, and you can't close your eyelids. Or you can't open them. That doesn't matter either, because while you are standing there, eyelids frozen, you can hear everything everyone is saying. Or you can't hear a thing. But it doesn't matter, because while you are standing there, eyelids frozen, hearing, you can't move.

And no one can tell that you are there.

It's not that you have disappeared, or even that you are a ghost. It's nothing that you dream about; this isn't a nightmare. They just have stopped looking at you.

You are there, and no one notices.

You wonder what would happen if you couldn't hear everyone, or if you could hear them. You wonder how they would react if your eyelids moved: opened or closed, it doesn't matter. You wonder what would happen if you sat down. What would happen if you moved?

And then you realize: it doesn't matter. They stopped looking, and once they stop looking, it doesn't matter.

Tess couldn't move. Why hadn't she stomped her feet as she walked down this alley? She looked around her, suddenly realizing what alley she had wandered down, wanting to avoid the deadly silence of the night.

Of course it was Liz's alley. Of course it was Liz's voice that broke the silence. And of course she couldn't say anything now. Tess didn't want the other girl to know that she had heard her speaking or reading, whatever it was she was doing.

With curiosity, Tess crept to the wall beside the fire escape. Quietly resigned to waiting. She couldn't leave now ? it would be too noisy. So she rested there against the wall of the Crashdown.

Tomorrow will be four years since The Shooting Day. I think that must be why I am thinking about being looked at. Before The Shooting Day, I don't think I would have noticed if everyone stopped looking at me ? because before then I never realized what it was like to be looked at. I mean ? I knew what it was like to have the whole town watching, but they were only watching. The town wasn't looking at me and seeing me.

Max was, but I didn't know that. Not until The Shooting Day. And that was tomorrow: four years ago, tomorrow.

That's when Tess realized what was going on. Liz was reading out of her journal. Tess looked up, half expecting Liz to be leaning over the side of her balcony looking down at her. Instead, all Tess saw were the stars. They were moving so beautifully around the sky. Slowly they rotated ? no, she reminded herself ? slowly I rotate here on this rotating planet; the stars aren't interested in movement; that's my obsession.

And Liz was reading from her journal.

*****

October 28, 2014

For two years I kept going back.

Seventeen thousand five hundred and forty-four hours of my life I waited for and listened to her voice.

Seven hundred and thirty-one days.

Seven hundred and thirty-one hours, one every night. I always went back and listened to her speak me, make me make sense. She was good at that.

*****

October 31, 2006

Three minutes and forty-seven seconds to midnight.

Her feet compelled her to the alley once more. It had been over a year. She had not been coming down this alley on these oppressive dark small town nights for over a year.

But I'm here now. I am here waiting for her to speak what she has written. Why doesn't she sleep at night? If she would only sleep at night maybe I could stop wandering at night. If I didn't know that she would be here, I wouldn't be here.

She is leaving.

Tess hadn't been able to think of much else. Liz was leaving. She was packing her things tomorrow into a moving van and getting out of Roswell. Liz was going to cut herself off from the alien happenings in this alien tourist trap. She was going to stop pretending.

Stop pretending what? None of us have been as real as Liz these last years. Why won't she start reading me out of that journal of hers? She leaves and we all will pretend harder. I just want to hear who I am one more time.

Standing there in the alley, she noticed for the first time in the last three years that she was standing in the light of the streetlight.

All that time, as she spoke, I was standing in the spotlight. But it was worth it to hear someone say the things that I can only think. Maybe she's been me all this time. I just want to hear who I am one more time.

It was her mantra. She thought it again.

And again.

And she waited.

Three minutes and thirty-three seconds to midnight.

*****

September 17, 2005

So one more year I wait for my death. That's really what it's like, being able to celebrate the anniversary of my death and rebirth: I wait. It was in the afternoon that they killed me, but I wait for the death in the night. The morning brings new life. Rather Christ-like, you would think.

For a minute, Liz lifted her head. The night felt expectant. But recently, the nights had all felt expectant, as if it were listening for her self-pitying words.

As if the night waited for some preordained act, and simply shook its head in exasperation at her self-involvement. Tomorrow was the six-year anniversary of her death. What a strange thing to remember.

There is this overwhelming sense of anticipation. When will fate take it back? Every year I come back to this final realization: I'm supposed to be dead. Only the interference of someone who was also supposed to be dead changed that. So when will fate take it back? I'm the living dead, each day spent on borrowed time.

A sound jerked her eyes from the page. Standing up, she held her journal tightly to her chest. Her stockinged feet made no sound on the concrete of her balcony as she moved carefully to the side.

Below, in the dim light of the streetlight, she could make out a blonde head tilted femininely to the side. The woman was leaning against her wall beside her fire escape. Only the light sound of breathing drifted up to her.

Liz wondered what would chase Tess out into the night and down this alley. Sighing, she returned to her seat, lifting her pen to her journal again.

I wonder who I borrowed the time from? And I wonder if Tess, Michael, Isabel, or Max ever wonder the same thing. Whose time are they living on?

Setting down her pen, she returned her eyes to the beginning of the entry. She opened her mouth and deliberately began to read aloud.

*****

May 14, 2008

Tess hadn't come back here in so long. Once in the last twenty thousand two hundred and eighty hours; she had come back once in the last nine hundred and seventy days.

I came back once to say goodbye to Liz. I didn't even spend time in the Crashdown in the last twenty thousand two hundred and eighty hours.

She had come back to see Liz that last time on The Divorcing Day: thirteen thousand four hundred and eighty-eight hours ago. But every hour had been spent with the Journal.

Pausing for a minute in the alley, she contemplated the streetlight. In the dawning light it was so unimpressive. The last time she had stood down here in this alley, she had been intimidated by the light ? captured in the spotlight it created. Caged to hear Liz's voice as it swept into the alley.

Captured and forced to listen to the voice I prayed would speak me to me.

Twenty thousand two hundred and eighty hours ago.

She climbed the fire escape.

How appropriate that I would come in through the fire escape.

She looked around, for the first time seeing Liz's place in the daylight. The dawnlight.

The morning light brought Liz's life and all of her leavings. She would wait for the life to come back in the morning every Shooting Day. And every Leaving Day she would remember that it was in the morning that she walked away. Things were too bright in the morning light. The dawnlight.

The light glinted off Liz's bedroom window. Tess knew that every morning the sun would shine onto Liz's face and wake her. There was no avoiding the reminders of the morning light when it woke her. Liz had told her; in the Journal.

The bed will start it. That's where she started her days; that's where today will start. Liz will be thinking that it is three thousand two hundred and eighty-eight days today since The Leaving Day.

I know because all I can think is that it is seventy-eight thousand nine hundred and twelve hours since The Leaving Day.

Tess's hand began to glow, the spark of a flame nurtured there inside her fist. She stepped into the room, reached out, and lit Liz's pillow on fire.

You don't need to come home anymore, Liz. Stay cut off. Do that. For me.

This is my gift to you. My ultimate betrayal; my final act of loyalty. After this, I will begin cutting myself out of you life. Just as you did. And then you will have the Journal. This is the china you look at, Liz. I'm cleaning up the shattered dish off the dirty floor, Liz.

This is my gift to you.

*****

October 31, 2006

I'm waiting for her. That's what I don't want to think about.

The air is expectant again tonight. I think that something is supposed to happen. Maybe tonight fate will take back this extra time that I was loaned.

I can feel her waiting in the alley, trying to decide when it will be the right time to come up. Maybe she's waiting for me to read to her.

Three minutes and twenty-seven seconds to midnight.

*****

October 31, 2006

Three minutes and twenty-six seconds to midnight.

Tess was immobilized by the sight of the fire escape. Had she ever gone up that ladder? All she had to do was reach out, grab the rung above her head, lift a foot, and take her first step.

All she had to do? It was like leaping off a cliff. Diving into the ocean. Jumping in front of a bullet.

So she stared at the rung that sat there at her eye level. Of course the spotlight streetlight grabbed onto that rung and made it grow brighter and brighter every moment. Of course it would sit there and look at her as if she were an idiot for not grabbing it.

I would rather jump in front of a bullet. Why does Liz call it The Day? It was yesterday. The Day?

She's leaving. Tomorrow. Grab the damn rung. One second and I'm up the ladder and facing her.

She turned away. What was there to face? She and Liz had nothing in common. There was nothing to face.

She only knows what it feels like to wait for fate. Borrowed time? I keep thinking I should move.

Three minutes and twenty-five seconds.

She grabbed the rung.

*****

May 13, 2004

Every night she stood here, locked in the spotlight and listening to Liz speak her.

And every morning she would wake up with the reminder that she shouldn't return. She would greet each morning with the knowledge that in so many ways standing there made their ties tighten and strengthen.

Tess was beginning to accept that their strongest tie was that they were one another. The same person. No, not the same person. They were each other. She should have been born Liz. Liz should have been born Tess.

And every night she returned to the fire escape to listen to Liz speak her.

In the days they would fight the enemy. Even Liz who was always cutting herself out of their lives would fight the enemy with them. And then at night Tess would fight herself.

If only Liz would begin.

Tess sighed in relief as Liz began.

Another anniversary. The only thing that tells me the days are passing. The Leaving Day is here again tomorrow.

I wonder over and over why I stay.

It repeats itself in my mind: why stay? why stay? why stay?

No love. No life. No dreams stay here with me. All that is left is this balcony, that bed where I wake up every morning. The telescope. Max, Maria and Alex aren't even the same any more. They don't exist. They don't keep me here.

Am I really locked here by the view of the stars?

I stay because of the concrete under my feet. The wooden frame of the window. I can't leave, and I could never stay gone, because this is still here.

And no matter how my dreams die, this never seems to change. But I want to go. I want this to change.

How Tess wanted to change! What was keeping her there? Destiny and duty; the words of her dead protector echoed in her head. Destiny and duty, destiny and duty, destiny and duty. God, she hated those words.

Maybe Liz, the one who made her make sense, could free her if she were free. Maybe.

But then, Liz lost to destiny and duty before.

I wonder why she calls it The Day? Happy Leaving Day, Liz. Leave, Liz, please leave.

*****

October 31, 2006

The hollow clunk of a hand hitting the fire escape alerted Liz to her iminent arrival. She held her breath.

She's never been here before. Why did I want her to come up? She wasn't supposed to come up. None of them were. They all know that I am cutting myself out of their lives. If she would only stay down in the alley in the spotlight, I would read myself to her.

I would share. But she can't come up here.

And suddenly, there she was. Tess was standing on her balcony, looking so wrong there. The light was so bright on the balcony. Liz had never noticed that before. Bright and blinding.

There was no escape in the shadows. She was suddenly caught in the spotlight of the moon. She was caged and desperately waiting for Tess to speak to her.

Tess had to say something. It was her turn to speak.

*****

October 31, 2006

Why did I come up here? I knew that I would have to speak. I knew that there would have to be some truth in this. Maybe I can lie.

Tess opened her mouth. She would lie. She had to lie, for both of them. She knew she wasn't supposed to be up here. She knew she was interrupting Liz's exit. But she had to make her entrance before it was too late. She wanted to share the stage with her just this once.

The lie.

It was gone.

But her mouth was open. She had to say something. She looked Liz in the eyes.

Why did I look her in the eyes. Her exit almost complete, and I look her in the eyes. My entrance barely begun, and I fumble it in her eyes. Damn. And my mouth is still open.

All her words would be inadequate. She had let Liz speak her for all these years. How could she begin to voice herself now to the master? But her mouth was growing dry.

She spoke.

"You're standing in the middle of this really busy place. It could be a classroom, a streetcorner at lunchtime, a restaurant, your own dinner table. It doesn't matter where, because you are standing there, and you can't close your eyelids. Or you can't open them. That doesn't matter either, because while you are standing there, eyelids frozen, you can hear everything everyone is saying. Or you can't hear a thing. But it doesn't matter, because while you are standing there, eyelids frozen, hearing, you can't move.

"And no one can tell that you are there.

"It's not that you have disappeared, or even that you are a ghost. It's nothing that you dream about; this isn't a nightmare. They just have stopped looking at you.

"You are there, and no one notices.

"You wonder what would happen if you couldn't hear everyone, or if you could hear them. You wonder how they would react if your eyelids moved: opened or closed, it doesn't matter. You wonder what would happen if you sat down. What would happen if you moved?

"And then you realize: it doesn't matter. They stopped looking, and once they stop looking, it doesn't matter."

When did I memorize that?

*****

Liz

And I stare.

Four second to midnight. I can't look away from her. She's spinning slowly like Orion and I am, and I can tell that she is spinning. She must know that I am spinning too.

Three and a half seconds to midnight. Can she see my spinning? But I have to say something. It is the last chance for us to . . . say anything.

Three seconds to midnight. But what do you say to the one person you never talked to but who changed your life in ways you can't begin to describe?

Two and a half seconds to midnight. But I have to say something.

"Tess."

And I feel the second absorb the sound, the single syllable. I think: what an absurd thing to say.

*****

Tess

And I hesitate.

Two seconds to midnight. What an obscure thing to say. Is it an acknowledgment of me, my presence over the years? My spinning?

One and a half seconds to midnight. All I can see is her spinning. Do I even know this person? She knows my name. Who is she?

One second to midnight. I must know her. I vaguely recall change and a voice, her voice, shadowing years of wants and desires.

A half second to midnight. I struggle to remember more than the voice. I can see the face in front of me. Is this the person I always wanted to be? And then I know.

"Liz."

I think: what an absurd thing to say.

*****

Liz

Midnight seperates us now.

*****

Tess

I am too late. My hesitation cost more than two seconds. It lost me a day; us a day.

*****

Liz

Midnight separates us now.

*****

Tess

The Divorcing Day has arrived.

*****

Liz

The Moving Day has arrived.

*****

Tess

She doesn't say anything. And whatever I thought yesterday is:

*****

Lost.

*****

Forgotten.

*****

Let go.

*****

Tess

She sets her Journal down and goes back into her room. I hesitate again.

*****

Liz

I don't know why I don't watch. I don't know if she wants to talk to me. I should watch, and see if she picks me up and takes me with her.

*****

Tess

I don't know why I hesitate again.

Yes, I do. I don't want to have to pick her up. I want her to pick me up and take me with her. I want her to know me. Why do I have to pick her up?

*****

Liz

I don't know why I am leaving.

Yes, I do. I leave because I can't take her with me. I have to wait for her to come and pick me up and empty me into her. Why do I have to wait?

*****

Tess

I pick up her Journal. I take her with me.

*****

Liz

I wait. I don't know how long.

*****

October 29, 2014

I think maybe I left my Journal in my room above the Crashdown on purpose.

I wish I knew the exact moment when I lost my Journal. Forgot it. Let it go.

The Shooting Day; The Leaving Day; The Day; The Moving Day; The Burning Day.

I don't know which to commemorate. I should ask her. Midnight. That's when I'll ask her. I'll ask her why she didn't let me surgically cut myself out of her life, why it couldn't be clean.

Midnight.

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