It is raining in Manhattan

There is a point at which every love story, no matter how great, must come to an end.

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1. It is raining in Manhattan

She wears a white dress that sets her hair on fire, and in the rain it’s difficult to tell if the lines running down her cheeks are tears, but they are. Of course they are. The gravestone hasn’t been erected yet, but she knows what it will say. She’s seen it before, all that time ago with her raggedy Doctor and his crazy wife, her fiery daughter. Hellishly complicated, their family had been. She’d torn it apart chasing him; chasing Rory. Even as the Doctor pleaded with her to stay with him in his blue box, she’d shook her head as his absence wracked her body. She’d finally grown up, and she knew what that meant. So she let the angel clamp its stone hand onto her shoulder and it threw her back through time and into Rory’s arms.

“You have always been so much better at living without me than I’ve been at living without you”, she whispers into the silence. Already she can feel his absence eating at her. He has always been completely and irrevocably her Rory, and now time has taken him from her, again, but this time he isn’t coming back, and this time she can’t just forget until she stumbles into him again.

The cemetery is beautiful, as she knew it would be, and she always she flinches when she sees the statues, even though there is very little they could do to hurt her now. There is very little anyone could do to hurt her now. Rory has already been taken.

She’d known when he would die, having seen his age engraved neatly onto the stone, all those years ago, still in her future, beyond her future. She’d seen her name too. “I won’t be long, my dear”, she says, her voice choked, broken and breaking every second she’s forced to keep breathing without him.

“We had a good life”, she tells him, as though he needs reminding. It was the best. He’d gotten a job at the local hospital, made himself a proper doctor, and they’d always giggled when she called him ‘doctor’. In the end, he was the one that she chose.

Amelia became a writer, a spinner of tales, a teller of wonderful lies, a hoper of far flung hopes and a dreamer of improbable dreams. She sat up at night gazing out onto New York City, searching for inspiration in the wet streets when her memory deserted her. Words filled her waking thoughts and lit the grey streets, set her world alight like a dying star.

She stands at his grave for a long while, until her dress clings to her frail shoulders and her hair falls ragged around her face that feels thinner already. Food has lost its taste without his knack for spices. She can hardly bear to keep breathing. Eating seems like a stretch. She keeps telling herself that it will get easier. She learnt how to delude herself from the best.

She drives her spunky little car along blurry streets, a copy of the one the Doctor bestowed on them when he dropped them off at their new house to actually have a life. Rory used to fondly quip that, if nothing else, it had character. His scent rose off the worn seats. They’d travelled the world in that little car. Amelia swallows her tears and keeps her eyes fixed on the road, because she’s not supposed to die now, she’s supposed to carry on, and there will be things to do. There will be books to write. There are stories left to tell.

We’re all stories, in the end. She remembers his voice vaguely, in that wibbly-wobbly way her memories work.

Just make it a good one, eh? Because it was, you know.

It was the best.

__________________________________________________________________________

I don’t know what I’m going to do. Writing has always been my retreat, but it doesn’t feel right not to pass the pages to him. It doesn’t feel right not to be dragged out of my chair and down the street for an afternoon coffee in that bistro. The one with the crinkly seats and the corny music and the most abstract sense of style imaginable. It reminded us of the Doctor, a bit, and his old professor style. You could almost see him sitting in a place like that, smoke curdling from his open mouth, holding a newspaper tightly, his elbow propping a paperback open on the dirty table. He’d down a whiskey and grimace, but all the same sit back and allow an expression of quiet contentment to invade his sternness.

If the Doctor were human, if he didn’t think that smoking was the silliest thing since people started thinking reversible jackets weren’t cool, if the Doctor could even drink a thin wine without spewing it onto the grass, if the Doctor could sit still for that long. I wondered if maybe he did that now, if maybe he’d set his Tardis down somewhere in space and time and resolved to live alone. I wish I could send him a message, tell him not to be alone, that he should never, ever, permit himself fall into a hole that deep. There would always be someone. Not us, not anymore, but someone.

Rory and I used to sit in that bistro and talk about the Doctor, and wonder where he was and if he thought of us. It doesn’t feel right to entertain those fantasies anymore, not without him.

Nothing feels right without him.

My fingers are glistening with ink; the words I’ve managed to jot down are just a trawling soliloquy of someone else’s thoughts. Mine hold no shape or form, no manageable rhythm that would impose the delicate phrasing I expect of myself these days, with my craft honed almost to unconsciousness. My fingers itch to write about the Doctor and the Daleks and every dark corner we peered into together, but I don’t.

That story is over now. It’s time to move on. It is time to set about the business of living without a part of myself.

I long for the company of someone who can understand this pain, but it is too early for my daughter to penetrate the shade of wrongness that envelops this city, mine and Rory’s imposed protection from time travellers. Still I search for River’s face in the crowd, her flouncing step, that dangerous smile. How strange time-travel is, that my little girl can be so much older and wiser than I am. My dear Melody Pond, the child they took from me, my childhood friend, and the weapon created to kill the Doctor, viciously malfunctioning. The woman who grafittied the oldest cliff-face in the universe because her husband wouldn’t answer his phone. My daughter. My wonderful, beautiful, incredible daughter.

I wander our home, alone at night, a wonderful two floor apartment with an ancient sense about it, windows that creak in the wind, cracked plaster, massive spiders, and a certain sense of sprawling depth that I like. It feels empty now, of course, without his voice floating along the hall when he gets in from work, carrying groceries or pizza or stomping dripping and upset into his room to seek comfort in pyjamas and the repetitious tapping of my fingers on the typewriter.

I always did mean to pay him back for those 2000 years. I never will, but this is a start. It hurts enough to be a start. I still hardly believe the story he told me about the Amelia Pond who waited for 30 years on the second nicest planet in the universe. I hope that isn’t what being without him means.

My fingers stray across the keys and I find myself typing to Rory, talking to him in the only way that doesn’t fell desperately lonely, “Oh, Rory, I wish you could hear me when I call out to you in the darkness, my fingers scrabbling over the emptiness beside me. I wish you could hold my hand and tell me that I’m going to be okay, but that’s the point, isn’t it? You can’t.

I suppose, as always, my love.

I’ll be waiting”.

 

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