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Without You
By Katherine Quinn

"The mind churns
the heart yearns
the tears dry without you.
The stars gleam
the poets dream
the eagles fly
without you.
Without you, the hand gropes
the ear hears
the pulse beats
The Earth turns
the sun burns
but I die, without you.
Life goes on
but I'm gone
'cause I die, without you"
   ---Jonathon Larson

You've been gone for a second but it feels like a lifetime. I watch the long line of black SUV's pulling away from me and I know that you're gone and my last question, "How long," remains unanswered, lying instead in your eyes and the haunting glare between us. I know I won't see you again, or a least I assume I won't, because hoping you'll come back to me will eat my soul. It's easier for you to be gone forever. It's worse knowing that you will be living somewhere that's not in my arms.

Elliot's here and I know why you wanted him to come. You knew if I were here alone no one would be here to pick up my shattered pieces. He's my best friend, and with his strong arm around me is stopping me from running after the trucks carrying you away. I think he's even trying to say something comforting, but I can't hear him over my own voice in my head, the choking feeling in my chest, and the pain of watching you leave my life.

He's holding me to his chest as the sobs rack through my body, and even though I think he knew more than he said, he has to be perplexed at my visceral reaction to this new turn of events. He's seen me tear up, he's seen me beat myself down, but he's never seen me cry like my life is ending. My life has never ended before.

What was the line from that poem you loved, the one I used to tell you was too damn depressing? "Do not go gently into that good night; rage, rage against the dying of the light?" You are my light and now I understand that without you, breathing is going to be unbearable.

When you were dead, I died, and my reprieve was seeing you alive again, like an angel incarnate. You gingerly slipped from the back seat, your eyes misty, your arm held tightly to your chest. I wanted to grab you, wanted to hold you and never let you go, but I always feel like a million eyes are on us and we can't display what we feel for each other lest it be used against us. And I realize slowly, that us is about to be a foreign term; we can live in each others hearts, but only there, because these men in this gas guzzling cars are taking you away from me forever.

The morning you got shot, we tumbled out of bed together, giggling like school children. We overslept, which was unusual, since neither of us slept late normally. We had opened our eyes to find out we were both at least an hour behind, and we had run from the house, grabbing clothes, and keys, and case files, barely stopping to breathe, let alone to remember how lucky I was that you were there, or how beautiful you look in the morning when you just wake up. How I love lying with you for the first few minutes of every day, listening to you tell me what you're planning to get done, and when you'll be home, and what we should do that night. Your feet are always cold, and I'd rub them with mine while you talked, trying to help them warm up. Your cold feet remind me of your blue lips when you were shot. They're cold like your fingers when I thought you were gone, cold like my heart from here on in.

It's getting harder to pull air into my lungs and I know that this is the end of my life, right now. Elliot is patting my back, trying to calm me down, because I think I'm scaring him. I'm going to be sick, and I push him away from me, staggering a few feet before losing what little I had managed to eat that day, the day that you died. The day, that I lost you.

Tomorrow, when I wake up, the world will still be here, but it will be emptier. The sun will rise. The oceans will pull against the shores, but I'm not sure how I'll go on, without you.

The End

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