Requiem for a Dream
memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn't. It simply files things away. It
keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall
with will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!”
― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
You know this knot in your chest? It feels like it’s suffocating you; like it is about to crush your heart. You desperately wish to cry, because you hope that letting go will loosen this knot. A bit. You want to give yourself over to the tears and the pain, but you can’t. The tears won’t come. Only the pain remains. You carry this knot with you. You cannot get rid of it. It will not let you go. It is like a parasite. It becomes part of you – a fateful symbiosis. And you start to ask yourself if you would be able to live without it at all. You worry that you’ve become too dependent on this darkness inside you, that you will not feel whole anymore once it’s gone. At the same time it is getting heavier. It becomes harder to bear. And you fear that one day you will not be strong enough anymore. One day it will wear you down.
Such a knot had started to grow within Molly Hooper the moment she first had lain eyes on the engagement ring Sherlock Holmes had given her, and it had been her constant companion ever since. Sure, there had been moments when it had loosened a bit, but I had never been gone completely. She had always known it was there. It was the guilt Molly felt when she lied to him, the pain when she saw what her rejection did to him, the doubt when she asked herself if they were doing the right thing, the hurt when she witnessed his helpless confusion and the stab in the heart when she had invented this one memory he had desperately been looking for in his mind palace.
The time since Sherlock’s accident had been an unrealistic blur of events. Molly had imagined a relationship with Sherlock Holmes many times. As opposed to other people, she had never wondered if he was capable of having one, but if he would ever be willing to. Would he ever trust a person enough to let them through the makeshift barricades around his heart? She did not deny that she had always wished to be that person. And when she had seen the relief in his eyes when he had saved her from her abductor, she had hoped that maybe, just maybe, there was a slight chance for them.
Then he had turned cold and dismissive. She had tried to understand it – to understand him. She knew it was part of “Being Sherlock Holmes.” It had been his helplessness about dealing with the situation, with coming to terms with the fact that he had felt something and that he had acted according to those feelings. He had shown her – and everyone else in the room – that he cared about her. And that had confused him. Because feelings were confusing. So he had been angry with himself – and probably with her – for letting his sentiment getting the better of him. And even though Molly Hooper had understood all that, it had hurt her yet again.
And then he had wanted her to be his fiancée. Just for one night. Just for a case. But then it had become The Case of the amnesiac Detective and she had been his fiancée every night ever since. And being engaged to amnesiac Sherlock was totally different from what she had expected from a relationship with the consulting detective. Somehow reality cheapened things. Maybe because it was not real. At least not for her. It did not feel real, because she knew it was all a lie. Their time was borrowed and had been ticking away from the moment she had looked him in the eyes in the hospital room and told him her first lie. There had been many ever since. And she hated herself for every single one.
She could not bear his gentle touch, because she felt he would hate her as well, if he knew what she was doing. She could barely stand being close to him anymore. She felt raw inside, all she’d known torn into asunder.
Molly felt like one lie after the other left her mouth. She was afraid of how easy it had become for her to tell a lie. She feared she could not tell right from wrong anymore. She felt like she was committing some felony every single day, by just waking up next to him, or letting him kiss her.
Planning a wedding that would never be, inventing memories and adjusting her past to the confabulation of a man you loved took its toll. All those assumptions obscured the truth, and this emotional conflagration was about to burn not only Molly Hooper, but Sherlock Holmes as well.
She’d known from the beginning that eventually it would have to end. They had always had an expiration date. The ring had become a burden. She had thought she could carry it, but she had been wrong. It pulled her down farther and farther, and she was drowning. She had thought she had it in her to do this; to play her part, to do whatever was necessary to help Sherlock, but she just couldn’t take it anymore. She could not compartmentalize and put her real feelings for him into a box labelled “Don’t open until further notice” while playing the devoted fiancée. This charade gave method acting and “living ones role” a whole new meaning.
She had given it a lot of thought. It would be for the best. That way she may be able to save the bit that was left of the trust between them when he’d get his memories back. Molly had made a decision. She couldn’t live like that. She couldn’t do this any longer. She was too weak to pretend everything was alright anymore. She needed to let the dream of a relationship with Sherlock Holmes go. But first she had to end this nightmare.
Sherlock had come home quite late from the Yard to find Molly curled up on the sofa with Toby beside her, wearing a faraway expression on her face. He had been glad that she was still awake, for he had yearned to share with her his brilliance of solving the case.
Molly had listened to him telling her all about dark family secrets, scandalous affairs and vanished lovers. She could not help but note that it would have made an excellent soap opera.
Still she had listened only with one ear. Her mind had been busy with what she was about to do.
After he had finished his tale of deduction and
deception and she had congratulated him, she let a few moment pass, before she
said with as much calm as she could muster, “Sherlock, we need to talk.”
She could not believe that she really had started this conversation with the most cliché opener of all.
Sherlock raised an eyebrow and chuckled, “Isn’t this the sentence with which every break-up-conversation begins?”
The room fell silent and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. Sherlock put the remains of the sandwich he had devoured down onto the plate.
“This is the moment where you are supposed to giggle, pat me on the arm and tell me, ‘Don’t be daft, Sherlock,’” he gave her direction, but his intonation made it a question rather than a statement.
Molly had made up a whole speech in her head, but of course all words fled her mind at the look Sherlock was giving her. He was panicking. And he was never panicking. She closed her eyes for a moment, because she knew she could not do it while he looked at her like that. She knew what it felt like to get ones heart broken, and she could not bear to witness being the one who did it to Sherlock Holmes. He may have broken her heart a dozen times, but Molly Hooper was not a spiteful person. She would never hurt him out of revenge.
She clenched her fists by her sides and stood up from the couch.
Slowly Sherlock got up from his place by the table as well. But neither took a step closer to the other, instinctively feeling that it was better to remain where they were.
”I can’t do this anymore. It’s not fair to you,” Molly said in a low voice. It was not a lie.
raised his eyebrows and a wrinkle formed between them. “What do you mean?” His
voice was relatively calm as well, but Molly could tell that he had a hard time
keeping it that way.
She took a deep breath to prepare herself for her next words. “No, you’re… You are not the man I fell in love with.”
She watched as pain washed over his face like a crashing wave, because somehow he knew that part of that sentence was true.
He tried to keep his features in check and cleared his throat before he spoke and took a hesitant step towards her. Molly remained transfixed by the spot. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I don’t love you anymore.” She told him with a coldness he had never heard her direct at him before.
His eyes became wide, and then they clouded over with anger. His body tensed and his tone reflected all the fury she saw in his eyes, “You’re lying. What’s the real reason?”
He clutched her hard when he reached her arm. Molly flinched under his touch. His grip was too strong and for a moment she had the urge to try to free herself from it, but somehow the physical pain felt... good... like his actions were justified because of what she did to him. Somehow she felt she deserved to feel some sort of physical pain. That it was only fair him hurting her, because she was doing the same to him – emotionally.
She tried to go on with what she had to do, “It’s true. That’s why I was so hesitant about the wedding, why I was holding back when….,” her voice faltered as she felt tears sting her eyes.
His grip loosened considerably, and he tilted his head to the side, as
if viewing her from a different angle would change her words.
“You’re just getting cold feet, second thoughts, that’s perfectly normal,” he said in a strained, but again low voice, and Molly was not sure if he was trying to convince her or himself. “Tell me what is bothering you, what I have done wrong and I will make it right. I will.” It was not an empty, placating promise, and that made Molly’s heart ache even more.
She looked at him with doe’s eyes and bit her lip, not trusting her voice.
He let go of her, sighed, drew a hand through his curls and Molly almost chuckled at the familiarity of his actions.
“Give me one good reason, Molly, all I’m asking you for is a rational explanation. I am begging you,” he said in a pleading tone. And somehow that did it for her. Because Sherlock Holmes was not supposed to beg. Sherlock Holmes did not beg.
She finally found her voice again, now growing louder with every word and raising in pitch as her agitation grew, because holding onto her pent up frustration was better than breaking into tears, “There is none, don’t you see?! Nothing about this is rational! It can’t be!”
Fire danced in his eyes again, and his expression turned heated, “You don’t make any sense, Molly! Just tell me the truth!”
”I can’t, ‘cause... Your truth is not mine!” she burst out, becoming quite a bit hysterical and was about to turn away from him, feeling like she was losing her grip. But Sherlock was quicker and grabbed her by the wrist. She swallowed back the sob that threatened to make its way from her throat. “Please…,” she pleaded, her voice came out crackly. It seemed like she was going to cry after all.
“Please what? Please let me go or please keep me from going?” He asked while drawing circles with his thumb on her wrist.
“I just want to do the right thing!” she whispered as if to herself.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I can tell you that right now you’re doing the wrong thing.” Sherlock desperately tried to suppress his exasperation.
Molly swallowed hard, bowed her head defeated and kept her gaze onto the floor when she stated, “You don’t love me.”
He sounded utterly appalled, “I think I know who I love.”
Molly involuntarily flinched. Never before had she
heard Sherlock utter that word in this context.
Slowly she lifted her head and looked him in the eyes, with all the sadness she felt, “No, believe me, the real you doesn’t love me.”
He threw up his hands in exasperation, “What’s that supposed to mean? I am real!”
Now Molly could not help the tear that escaped her eye. “I can’t do this anymore!”
She could see how lost he was, because for him she did not make any sense, but the situation had gone out of hand. This had not gone how she had planned.
He stared at her and she stated, “This is not you.”
He was about to make a step towards her, but she held up a shaking hand, stopping him, and told him, “It’s okay. But no matter what you think at the moment, or what I wish, I don’t count.”
And suddenly she saw a shift in him. She could see the whirlwind of emotions in his eyes: confusion, hurt, sadness, anger. And then his features turned to stone. He was almost ice like. Cold… still. He was in a state of catatonia. She did not dare to breathe.
”Sherlock?” she prompted after a few moments had passed.
He did not move, not one bit. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and took a hesitant step towards him. His stare was vacant.
”Sherlock?” she tried again, a bit louder this time for she started to worry about his well-being.
Suddenly he blinked three times, and slowly his eyes focused on her, and he looked at her like he was supposed to – without any of the affection that had lain in his gaze since he had lost his memory. His face was the epitome of detachment.
Molly clamped a hand over her mouth. The doctors had told them about spontaneous recovery, but that was a bit too spontaneous for her taste.
He stared at her and then at the ring adjoining her finger. His eyes widen fractionally, but apart from that his face was totally impassive.
”Sherlock?” she asked a third time, but he just turned around on his heels, grabbed his coat and scarf from the hanger and left without a single word.
This was it. Molly felt relief and grief and sank down onto the floor. Sobs started to wrack her body. It was over. It was all over.
Through her blurry vision her gaze was fixed on the ring on her hand. She ripped it off like a plaster. Quick and easy. And just like it always was with a plaster, it was anything but quick and easy, it hurt like hell.They had always told her never to fall for a sociopath. Because love was exactly that: falling.