DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: So you don't get confused: The first part is just me speaking to Andy—after that it's just her.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To brithna[at]gmail.com

The Fall and The Landing
By Brithna


The beginning will come and go so quickly that it can hardly be measured within the concept of time. This is how you will learn that a year, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes can be reduced to the snapping of ones fingers. And then…when you stand still long enough to calculate all the time you had before the snap of those almighty fingers…and that you quite possibly are guilty of wasting much of it, you will fall to your knees in the revelation of it all. When this revelation hits and it becomes clear that you've lost the ability to rise, perhaps permanently—or so it will seem, all you will remember for a good long while are those moments you neglected. The joy in all other moments will be forgotten, pressed back into the outer edges of your mind where when you look, you will find nothing.

When the end comes, you will still be on your knees but these moments of neglect will briefly be replaced by a greater image. The image of the release. A slow, painful, yet glorious release unlike anything you will ever witness.

You will try to find the peace in the passing…that everyone tells you is there somewhere. This concept, just like the concept of time will be foreign to you because you will still be on your knees, still unable to move, to rise, to find the glory in it.

From your vantage point you will think about that year again; those days, hours and minutes. You will see the physical things you had to replace in the motion of sinking. Every dish, every glass…a few pictures, lamps and even a kitchen chair that was lost in your fall…broken in the landing. You will see the dress too, your favorite dress, given to you in a moment of joy that you will not be able to remember. From your knees you will see it in the bottom of your closet, lost in your fall and torn in the landing. You will never replace it.

This snap of those almighty fingers, this fall to your knees will teach you that nothing is as important as it once seemed, yet in the outer edges of your mind the lesson of importance will never be finished because one day you will forget how this feels and will need to be taught again…and again.

From the call you receive, you know that today will be the end of the beginning. Miranda's voice tells you everything you need to know. It is quiet and even, like the sleeping dragon you know so well - but you hear it differently these days. Her voice is shaken to the core…broken. You know in your heart that you are the only one that can detect it; much like a sonar wave searching for the unseen in deep and dark waters.

You dress carefully, knowing that he would expect nothing less and while methodically attending to your hair and make-up you notice a change. Your eyes read differently and are no longer windows, no longer clear and bright. There is nothing you can do about that today but hope he does not notice…he would be disappointed.

Calling for a taxi or making a trip to the subway is pointless. Miranda has a car waiting for you. Though it was never verbally communicated; you just know like you know so many other things about Miranda. You've never been wrong and today will be no different.

The drive is slow and with each minute the knife that has been buried in your chest slides in deeper with such graceful ease that it makes you sick to your stomach. But no matter what you are about to find, the fact that Miranda will be there is what you focus on; creating a momentary barrier between you and the knife.

When you arrive you do not need to knock. His nurse Katherine is waiting there at the door. She greets you in a different way today. Not with the usual pat on the back or half hug, but a soulful embrace that you wish you could find comfort in. That word means nothing to you right now so you do not search hard for the emotion.

His bed is in the living room to seek advantage of the sun and lessen the need for lighting that he finds harsh and invading. You stop, leaning against the wall to memorize this view. Miranda has not noticed you yet. She is sitting in her customary place at the left side of his bed. Your chair is on the right, waiting for you patiently. Finally she hears you breathe and turns. You both smile collectively knowing that there is no other alternative. Not yet. You will your feet to move and Miranda leans close to him, whispering your arrival. A faint smile forms on his lips as you sit heavily in the chair. He looks at you…saying everything with his eyes and tries to move his hand closer but you quickly close the distance so he can save the remaining strength.

"Nigel." This is all you can whisper.

"Andy." He whispers back with a tear following that burns you. In return you let one of your own free and hope it doesn't hurt him.

"No crying…you will ruin your make-up. Isn't her eye shadow the perfect shade, Miranda?"

"Yes, most certainly."

You look at Miranda and she shuts her eyes and leans her head back. It is a pattern…something she does to push weakness away. At the end of the day that tactic will cease to work.

"Andy…" He stops and you hold your breath as he coughs. It weakens him further but he recovers and continues. "Remember the letters."

"Yes, I have them. I have them all." They were written months ago in your own hand as he told you exactly what to convey to each of his friends. Now they were locked away, quietly waiting for their chance to speak.

"Open the drawer." He moves his hand in yours to direct you toward the bedside table. Opening the drawer slowly for some reason you are afraid of what awaits you. There is a cream colored envelope that matches all the others. It is addressed to you…and Miranda…and suddenly you are not afraid of it anymore. Nigel reaches out for it. "Promise me…both of you…open it today…right after. Promise me."

Unable to hold the ropes that keep you together, you lean over, resting your head on the edge of the bed all the while holding his hand tighter. He knows this is your promise and you hear Miranda's whispered from across the bed.

Time moves slow and you are all quiet and still. Miranda's eyes never leave his face. Yours constantly move between watching him, watching her and watching the monitors that arrived months ago. You watch, wait and try to calculate by the numbers the exact moment the end will occur, yet it is unlike any math problem you have ever tried to solve. You find a great and bitter irony in the realization that birth is a very basic equation to master, sometimes right up to the very minute.

Miranda moves…leaves, headed to the kitchen and you instantly grow impatient for her immediate return. You cannot do this alone. Moments go by and she places a cup of coffee in your free hand. You barely notice.

"I want to open it now." Miranda nods toward the letter that is resting on Nigel's chest as he sleeps.

"No Miranda." That is all you can think to say and she lets the issue drop. It is evident that she only wants for a distraction.

He is awake now, looking at your both. You are uncertain as to whether or not he actually sees anything. It might be better if he doesn't. His gaze settles on Miranda and she moves to sit down on the side of the bed, still holding his hand. This seems like a good thing to do so you follow her movement. His grip tightens and expression changes ever so slightly.

"Keep your promise." He says to the ceiling and you look again at the monitors. Suddenly it becomes all too clear that you really can solve this math problem after all. You just had to wait long enough. The numbers and lines change as does his breathing. Miranda is changing too…hardly breathing….hardly blinking. She has solved the math problem as well.

The final sound of the snapping of fingers hits your ears like a freight train announcing its impending approach. You hear nothing else and never notice Katherine beside you turning off the monitors. You never notice your tears and still you continue to hear nothing else. Not your crying…not Miranda's. But, for a brief moment you do at least feel. There truly is a release...glory. It is over. This part at least.

Then your hearing returns and you forget all about any thoughts of glory and release. It's Miranda. You finally hear her breaking, raging against it all and it is the most beautiful yet heart wrenching sound. Just as she begins to slip right off the bed you are behind her, holding her up and resting your head on her back. There is nowhere else you would rather be.

Long moments pass…you aren't sure how many but finally the letter is remembered. "We need to open it." You whisper and she grips your hands tighter, pulling you against her back harder, unwilling to let go long enough to reach for it. "You promised. We both promised." You say.

This works and she lets go but you keep your arms around her. Slowly with shaking hands she opens it and you read along with her.

You do not realize it yet, but in a moment you will see that even if you're unable to move, to rise, to find the glory in it…somehow you will find a way to crawl forward. You will crawl on your hands and knees until you can stand and walk because there will be someone there with you. Together you will crawl and pick each other back up time and time again because you're both about to make a promise that neither of you will ever break. It is a promise you've both wanted to make for a very long time.

To my dearest friends…

Are you holding each other yet? I hope so otherwise my dramatic performance was all a waste—and you know how I hate to waste my talents. You are both so stubborn, but I still love you and now that I have you right where I want you—you have no choice but to listen: Stop wasting time and my patience. You know you love each other…you know you do. It's plainly obvious. Now go take care of each other and don't leave each other alone…you've done that enough times already. That's All.

Miranda – take care of my Six. She needs you right now more than ever. Please keep a watch on her wardrobe choices. I would hate for all my hard work to go to waste in my absence. Remember that you are my greatest friend…remember all our good times and don't forget that eventually you need to go live an actual life—soon.

Andy – take care of my best friend. She needs you…and has needed you more than you'll ever know. Please try and get her to loosen up a bit…and if you can get her to retire? Well then you really can do anything.

I love you both very much. Now go home---together. Promise me…


The End

For Patricia…in November.

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