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Living Without You

Florence drifted in and out of sleep.

When she woke up her Mother was sitting in the armchair, the pain flooded back, Chase wasn’t here, Chase was never again going to occupy that chair.

Tears were streaming down her face before she’d even opened her eyes, she wondered if she’d cried all through the sedation.

“Florence? Denise called me, she.. she told me about the young man who worked here and passed away, she said he’d helped you and that you’d become close, he was always very nice, I’m so sorry darling”

She was a void.

She wanted to blame her Mother and Father for doing this to her, for sending her here, for breaking her heart.

She wanted to lash out and tell everyone that he didn’t just help her. That he loved her and she loved him.

But telling them wouldn’t bring him back.

Finally her Mother left, patting her hand like she was some lame animal, telling her she’d be back soon.

She suddenly felt a sort of determination, she could be with Chase, it was as easy as swallowing a few pills, they could be with each other again.

There she’d been for weeks living some foolish, foolish daydream committing to a life she thought included him in it, when all the while he’d been saying goodbye to his own life.

“Damn you Chase” she screeched “How could you leave me! How could you make me want to stay and then... just leave me behind, how could you make me love the world again and then shatter it once more!”

Her hands shook as she opened her bag of supplies, inside was the Digoxin that she had been secretly stashing in her butterfly locket, it would be so easy to take it and then start screaming again, the doctors would come back and put her under sedation again.

With any luck she’d never wake again, she wouldn’t go through any more pain, wouldn’t have to live in this world another moment without him, remember how much she wanted him.

She cupped the locket in her hand, wherever he’d gone, could she not go with him?

But the minutes passed and she couldn’t do it.

She just couldn’t.

“What have you done to me?” she sobbed.

Because as much as she didn’t want to, she could hear all the things Chase had tried to tell her so clearly, the way he’d said that he only existed because she’d been there to see it.

He’d been telling her that night in the garden, she just wasn’t listening.

He’d been telling her that her memories of him would make him go on.

Was she his only witness?

Chase had wanted to live. He’d done everything he could to try and stay here and when that failed he’d almost channeled all his hope, all of his life into saving hers.

She hated him so much.

She loved him more.

She shook her head at herself, more tears beginning to stream, no wonder she’d frustrated him so much, she didn’t know how he’d put up with her. She could almost picture him standing there, looking at the locket and telling her she was a fool to throw her extraordinary life away- and worse, making him an accessory.

Chase had believed that she could never know what the future would hold, he’d made her promise to value her life. She picked up the locket and jammed it back into her backpack, half cursing him, half missing him more than ever, he was right.

“Chase” she whispered “God, I want you back”

Leaving this world, leaving this grief and pain would be easy. But she needed someone to remember the boy who had saved her life in so many ways, his messy heap of hair, searching eyes, the gardens they’d lay in, the walks they’d took, the conversations they’d shared.

If she left this world, who would remember everything that was amazing about him, and us?

She wrapped her arms around her waist, rocking in her ocean of sorrow, she had to hold a pillow to her face to stifle her gurgling cries, every breath felt like it caused her physical pain.

She had thought before that death was the answer, that it would be the best thing.

Chase had taught her that life was what happened when you were busy making other plans, she’d been so obsessed with fixing what was broken that she didn’t see everything else going on around her, his illness most of all.

She’d known something wasn’t right and half-heartedly demanded answers on so many occasions, but she’d been so caught up on the struggles of her own world that she’d made it too easy for him to keep his secret. She had thought what she was going through was so terrible and was angry at him for not always being perfect, and all the while he had been facing his end, alone.

Florence stood up only to collapse onto the floor a minute later in another bout of gut-wrenching tears.

Eventually she would have to stop, but not now. Eventually she would go on, for Chase, for herself, and the brief memory of the two of them that mean so much, but behind closed doors there would be a part of her that cried for him forever.

The days passed, she tried her best to function, but not a second went by that she didn’t think of him, didn’t yearn for him. Often she would be doing something, she had taken to writing, collecting every single memory that she remembered from their time spent together, she wanted it all written down, wanted their story to be on paper so it could never be forgotten.

For the first time that year her terror was nothing to do with herself, it was all about missing him.

She went to sessions with Levi, he was a professional as always, but he’d changed- aged maybe.

Florence did everything requested of her, everyone still struggled to understand why his death had hit her like a ton of bricks, they looked at her strangely sometimes, wondering why she’d had such a horrible reaction to his death.

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