DISCLAIMER: Much to my chagrin, I don't own any of these characters. Property of SHED Productions.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written as part of the Alphabet Soup Challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Skipping Stones
By coolbyrne


Yvonne once asked me, if I could do it all over again, would I? Of course, now, with the clarity that hindsight gives me, my immediate response is, "Yes." But when she asked me then, life and the prospect of it in the future wasn't so clear. Would I do it again? Would I Xerox the script life had given me and play the role the same? Though my answer wasn't nearly as swift as it is now, it was the same. "Yes."

This seemed to please Yvonne, one of the strongest women I'd ever met. Strong, because she had convictions and I think she found my answer an equal statement of conviction- that what I had done was not only right, it was just, and that I would gladly wield that same weapon again, both figuratively and literally. While I'd like to think I am a person of conviction, that wasn't the reason I'd put myself through the same journey.

When the nights are quiet and I'm sitting out on the step facing our back garden, I try to slow down that moment. Not me sitting here; the one in the club all those years ago. I try to freeze it- the bent cop, Trish, me; a tableau of violence. I fool myself into thinking I can still smell the smoke on my coat from the fag I slipped out to have. Imagine I remember the sound of Trish's voice when she called out. Convince myself I can still feel the warmth of Gossard's blood trickle over my fingers, a sharp contrast to the cool glass bottle broken in my grip.

Of course, I can't really remember those things. Not in that detail anyway. Memory's too fleeting. But I revisit that scene in my mind often, because I'm curious- curious to know if I can see anything in my face, a glimpse that I had any idea what one moment caught in time would mean to my life. Oh, I know it's not just me. We all have those moments that seem so isolated at the time, but turn out to be catalysts for a chain reaction of events. You realize later, oh, if I hadn't missed the Tube, if I had taken a left instead of a right, if I had chosen to do this instead of that. A pebble dropped in a still pond. Chaos Theory, I think it's called.

So I suppose it's no surprise I extrapolate so many 'what ifs' from that one moment in the club. And with the 'what ifs' come the 'then this wouldn't have happened'. Without that bottle in my hand, the 'never happened' list is staggering. The break-up with Trish. Larkhall. Dockley. Fenner. Bodybag. Realizing I was stronger than I thought I was. Monica. Barbara. The Julies. Learning what real freedom is. You.

Though I never would have told Yvonne, all the conviction in the world didn't have a damn thing on you. Conviction is all well and good, but it didn't give me a smile that got me through the day; didn't give me hope that got me through even more. The saying goes, 'Everything happens for a reason'. I don't think that's entirely true, but I do think some things happen for a reason. The bottle in my hand. That was my pebble, and its effect rippled throughout not just my life but that of Trish, Gossard, the women I met in prison. And you. I wonder, if you could go back in time and be there at that moment, would you have let me do what I did? Knowing what you know now? Probably not. Your blacks and whites are too contrasting to my grays. Or maybe I'm just selfish. Either way, as I hear you putting on the kettle and wait for you to come sit beside me as you always do, my answer is still the same. "Yes." And no regrets.

The End

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