DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is the property of NBC and Dick Wolf, and being used without permission or intention of profit.
SERIES: Fifth part of the Desktop Confessionals series following A Plain Morning, The Choice I have Come to Fear the Most, The Passenger and The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
It finally hits me as the cityscape comes into my view. I've been gone so long. Three years may not seem like much to some people. But in a city like this, three years may as well be a lifetime ago. In my case, it really is another life away.
I watch the buildings grow larger and larger as our small plane makes it way into the city limits. Out of the corner of my eye I see that the new structure for the towers has started being constructed. How quickly life can change.
I'm so lost in thought that I don't realize the pilot is speaking to me. Not until he taps me on the shoulder do I realize he's attempting to tell me something. I send him an apologetic glance and he explains that we're in a holding pattern until the runway can be cleared for us. I nod and turn my attention to the perfect grid below me.
The city looks as though it hasn't seen the sun in days. The snow is piled in high dingy stacks in many areas and I can make out a few plows already starting the early morning routine. In the distance I can see what appears to be the sun trying to poke through a large clump of clouds. A huge part of me wants today to be the day it manages to succeed. That would really be a good sign for me I think.
I feel the plane circling down lower, not landing just yet, and now I can make out actual people on the ground. From my perch in the sky I can make out the running trails in the park and I wonder if you're out yet. I know you take early morning runs no matter the temperature, yet I wonder if it's even too early for you. One glance at my watch tells me I may be correct. I can't remember which time zone I have my watch set to. BC, DC, or New York. I question silently whether DC and New York are on the same time zone or not, but then I realize that this is the least of my worries.
In the front seat I see Evans turn his head toward me and I face him feeling like a small child in the backseat of their daddy's station wagon. He gives me a warm smile and a pat on the knee which only exacerbates my previous feeling.
"Remember what I said Alex." He shouts over the now booming voices coming over the radio and I nod my head even though I don't exactly remember what he told me. He obviously knows me too well, even though I know nothing about him, and he repeats what he apparently had already told me. Although it's hard for me to hear him over the now descending plane I can make out most of his words. "Somewhere below you, there's people who love you.And they're ready for you to come home." I close my eyes hoping he's right.
I don't reopen them until I can no longer hear the humming of the engines. I didn't even realize we had touched ground. Evans is already out of the plane and is attempting to open my half of the door. After a few moments of struggle he succeeds with a wipe of his brow. I see him offer his hand to me and I paw it away. He laughs with a mumbled comment about me being a "femi-Nazi". I ignore the comment. This time. When he realizes I'm not ready to get out just yet he grabs one of my bags and takes off towards the awaiting black sedan. My very last detail.
I close my eyes and drop my head to the back of my seat. I'm not sure if I'm shivering because the door's open or because I'm scared as hell. I open my eyes just long enough to hold my hands out in front of me to gauge my shaking. I realize with one glance that my hands aren't the only thing moving uncontrollably. My whole body is rocking back and forth without me even knowing it. I cross my arms and grasp myself tight. I don't know why I'm so scared. They've explained everything to me. A few people already know that I'm coming back. You already know I'm here, you're just waiting for the call. Maybe that's what I'm so scared of. What if you get the call and don't come? What do I do then? Where do I go? Who would I be if I'm not with you? That last thought scares me more than anything I've ever had to face. The saddest part of it all is that I realize I wouldn`t even have an answer to that question if I needed it.
Although he's trying not to hurry me I can see the impatience starting to set in with Evans and the rest of the crew. I take a deep breath and jump down onto the slick pavement. I nod my head towards the detail as I duck myself into the waiting vehicle. Inside it's warm but my body still shivers. Even as I try again to foolishly calm myself I know that it's a useless battle. I push my head back and allow the fear and nerves to take over. Maybe it's better this way. If I keep thinking of the worst possible scenario then anything that happens will make me pleasantly surprised. I run my fingers through my hair wondering when I became so cynical.
It takes us nearly an hour to get to where we're going and at first I don't even recognize the location. It was so dark the last time I was here. Run down buildings loom around us as we pull into the gravel opening and stop just underneath the bridge. Even with the windows closed I can hear the beginnings of rush hour traffic attempting to make it's way into the city. I turn to face Evans and he smiles.
"Now what?" I ask him impatiently. He should know that there is nothing I hate more than being left out of the loop of my own life. With a shrug of his shoulders he leans his head back against the cool leather seat.
"For what?" My frustration is more than obvious to him and he places his hand over mine.
"To see if the choice you made is the right one." Out of the corner of my eye I see one of the agents from the other car click off his phone and shoot our car a thumbs up. I don't exactly know what's happening although I have a pretty good idea. I also have the feeling that even if I pushed them harder, no one would tell me anything. Evans tells me to just relax for awhile as he closes his eyes. Easier said than done. I turn my body and lean into the car door, using the window as a prop for my head. I don't even realize when I fall asleep.
Evans shakes me awake a few, or what seems like a few, minutes later. I groggily pull my head up and glance at my watch. About an hour has gone by since I placed my head against the freezing glass. I wipe my eyes and follow Evans' eyes out the back window. A dark blue sedan has just pulled into the lot and I can almost make out the figures of two passengers.
"Looks like you've got some company." Evans drawls out and I wipe my gloved hand over the fogged up window to see exactly who my visitors are. My heart starts to race in anticipation before it turns to frustration when I see the car turn it's wheels and face the other direction. I drop my head in rejection not noticing that the car has stopped on the other side of the lot. Evans mumbles something to me that sounds like an order to stay put as he jumps out of the car with his hand over his gun. I raise my head and start my watch out the back window again, hoping that everything is going to be okay.
I see Evans and the other agents pull their guns and start to approach the blue sedan. I hear orders shouted but I can't make out the demands. I see the passenger side of the car open its door and one long denim covered leg push it's way out. My breath catches in my throat. I know it's you before I even see the rest of your slim body exit the vehicle. The driver starts speaking to me and I don't hear anything until he tells me I can go now.
Stepping out of the car, I find the nerves in me have been replaced with a giddy fear. One that I can only describe as the kind you get when you're a kid and you've begged your parents to take you to the amusement park to ride the newest, fastest, biggest roller coaster and they finally do. And as your standing in line watching the haunting twists and terrifying turns you realize you're shaking more than the rails as the car zooms by and that you stomach is knotted more than the track of said coaster. And you glance around you hoping for a way out and back to safety but you realize that there are too many people behind you for you to escape. And in that instant you can either back out and always wonder if it would have lived up to your expectations, or you can go through with it, suck up your fear, and risk the chance of being thoroughly disappointed. With every step I take towards the waiting figures I feel my fear grow, the risk getting higher, and while a part of me knows I have nothing to be scared of, the rest of me is hoping against hope that I'll be able to handle this if it all falls off the track.
Sequel Newfound Masses
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