I wake up in the middle of the night and sneak into the Morgue, eager to see Tris, if only to make sure that I'm not dreaming. After they told me what happened to her, I became aggressive, I accused them of lying to me, of trying to deceive me into believing that awful thought for their own personal gain. I just couldn’t believe them, I didn’t want to. Tris, MY Tris is strong, brave, and much too Dauntless to be gone so easily. I avoided everyone, not wanting them to confirm my greatest fear. But I know I have to find out for myself, so here I am, alone and praying with all my heart that this is all just some bad dream or a really long Fear Simulation.
My hands reach out to remove the blanket covering her beautiful face. When my hand is only a few inches from the sheet I pull back. Do I really want to see her like this? Can I handle it? What if it is her, and that one glimmer of hope I’m holding on to is shattered along with my heart?
After a moment's hesitation I grasp the soft edges of the white sheet. I have to know the truth. To see it for myself so I wouldn’t be in this stage of limbo. It’s dark but enough light filtered through the shades to show the face beneath the sheet and I could feel my heart breaking inside my chest.
I knew this would happen. Even though I tried to deny it, I knew, I fucking knew this is what I would see. But having the truth laid in front of me like this, is just too painful. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this pain before in my entire life, and I want nothing more than for it to end.
Tris' skin is so pale it almost blended with the white colored sheet covering her. Her once pink lips that always left me wanting more, is now blue and lifeless. And her eyes, her beautiful blue eyes that I love so much is hidden behind her pale eyelids.
I move closer to her and with trembling hands, I stroke her cheek. The feel of her cold skin against my fingers is too much for me and I grip the edges of the table and sink to my knees as tears flood my eyes.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be! We were supposed to win the war and I’d carry her in my arms as we celebrated. We were supposed to build a new life together in Chicago, find a new home. I was supposed to marry her and make her mine in front of everyone we hold dear. We were supposed to start a family, have little images of her and me running around our small house. We were supposed to be together…grow old together. That was supposed to be our life.
I pull back my right arm and punch the hard table. "Ahhh! Why did I ever leave you alone?! I should never have left your side. I should've jumped in front of that bullet. I should've kept you from going into that safe. I should've done something. If I had, then...then…" Then I would not be feeling like a part of me just died.
I should’ve saved her. Saved her from the bullet. From David. From death.
It was my job, my only job was to keep her from getting hurt. It was my only job and I failed at it. I failed at saving the one person who means the world to me.
I failed to save her.
I’m a failure.
Once I get my tears to slow down I stand up and look at her beautiful face, even in death she’s still the most beautiful person I’ve ever laid eyes on. If I could just stop crying and focus on nothing but her face, I can almost make myself believe she's just sleeping. That any moment now, she'd wake up and tell me I fell for the oldest Dauntless prank in the book.
But she doesn't.
"I'm sorry I couldn't save you." I brush her hair back and lean forward to plant a small kiss on her cold forehead.
"I love you Tris. Always. And don’t worry, I’ll be with you soon enough."
I leave the morgue and start walking away from her. I don't even know where I'm going, all I know is I want to escape. Escape from this horrible pain deep inside me. Because if I don’t, I feel as if it’s going to kill me from the inside out.
This guilt and this pain will be the death of me.
I have to do something to make it stop. I don’t want to feel this pain anymore. I just want it to end. I want to have her in my arms again, to run to her room and find her reading her mom’s old letters.
It’s stupid, ‘coz even though I just saw her lifeless form merely a minute ago, a part of me is still stubbornly holding on to the hope that she's still alive, this is just too surreal. And to think the last thing I said to her was a promise that I'll see her soon. And now... now I never get to keep that promise.
But not for long.
The only emotion I feel right now that is stronger than grief, is anger. Anger at Caleb for letting her take his place. Anger at David for shooting her. Anger at her for being so selfless. Anger at the world for taking her away so soon. And anger at myself for not being able to save her.
The overwhelming surge of anger grows inside of me in an instant, almost consuming me until all I feel is my anger and my guilt.
Now all I want to do is keep my last promise to her. That is all I want to right now, it is all I can think of that will steer me away from the grief that’s surrounding me.
I was so lost in my grief and anger that I hadn't even realized I was no longer in the Bureau, instead I was in a vast, open desert. I look ahead of me and I see nothing. No trees, no buildings, no cars, nothing but the cold, barren land and the darkness all around me.
This is how I see my future now, as nothing but a never ending field of cold, dark, sand.
I do the only thing I could think of at the moment. I call out her name and then I start to run.
I run fast and hard with no particular destination. Maybe if I run fast enough I'd be able to turn back time and do what I should've done and save her. Maybe if I get far enough, I’d see her at the end of the road waiting to welcome me into her wide open arms.
Dawn is already approaching but I just kept running and running. I don’t want to stop, I can’t. This is the only thing I can do right now otherwise I’d either be crying in my room or beating David with everything I’ve got until he is begging for me to stop, to spare him, but I doubt I would. I want him gone. I want him gone almost as much as I want Tris to live. Because she deserves to live. She deserves to have a long happy life filled with moments that would erase all the pain of the war. She deserves that and more, after all she’s done for everyone in Chicago…for me.
I love you Tobias
"I love you too Tris." I reply to Tris' voice in my head.
Hearing her voice in my head, prompts images to appear before my eyes. Memories. My memories of Tris, and I don’t know if I want to savor or burn them.
I see a speck of grey falling from the sky as she jumps into Dauntless Headquarters and into my life. A tiny speck of grey that I never knew would change my life. Because she did that, she changed my life, she got me to face my fears and to come out of the protective shell I’ve hidden myself in ever since Marcus started beating me. She brought me back to life.
The first time I ever heard her voice, her laugh as she hit the net, I was hit with this sudden wave of emotions and I just didn’t know how to make sense of it all. I just knew that I was immediately drawn to her. To that speck of grey.
I see her in the training room, her long blonde hair whipping behind her as she fights an imaginary opponent. I remember marveling at how strong she was for someone so small, too small in fact that I almost thought she would never make it past Phase one. That was a thought that shouldn’t have affected me the way it did. And when I saw Peter beat her in the ring, it took everything I had in me not to jump in and beat him myself, so I just walked away.
I see our first kiss on the chasm. I still remember the way her lips molded against mine, how soft and precious they were, how I forgot about everything else and focused on nothing but her and her lips.
I see her in my old Abnegation room, her sleeping figure lying on my bed. It was a sight to behold, because for a second I imagined her like that but with a wedding band on her finger. I imagined waking up next to her beautiful face and feeling like the happiest man alive because that girl, Tris Prior, was mine and she loved me as much I loved her.
I see her face as I promise her I'd see her soon before I leave for Chicago to talk to Evelyn. Back then I never even considered the fact that I may not be able to keep that promise, I just thought that if I didn’t think about it, that it wouldn’t happen. That I’d come back from Chicago to her telling me she loved me and granting me another kiss that would annoy Christina. I even thought…hoped that Uriah would get better that by bringing Zeke with me, he would miraculously wake up and make some stupid comment about his head then we’d laugh and fight the urge to slap him ‘coz he was back, he was gone and now he was back.
But neither of those things happened. And it’s all my fault.
My flashbacks ended and on the horizon, I could see the sun peeking out from the darkness, casting an almost eerie glow to everything around me. But more importantly, I see a cliff.
My heart leaps at the sight of the cliff and I run faster. Eager to reach that point where the land comes to an abrupt halt. That cliff could be the last chance I have to be with Tris again. A chance for me to fulfill my promise and see her again. A chance to have her in my arms again. It seems like poetic justice, she jumped into Dauntless and into my life, and now I take one huge jump to be with her again in paradise. Forever.
When I finally reach the cliff, I stop for a moment and look down. I close my eyes and feel the first rays of the sun warm my skin. Pretending it to be Tris’ warm hands urging me to join her, almost pulling me to the edge.
One small step, that’s all it will take to be with her again. One tiny leap and all my pain will go away. I’d have her in my arms again. I’d get to see her smile brightly at seeing me running to her. I’d get to keep my promise.
As I take a step forward and ready myself for the big leap, a sudden gush of wind pushes me back away from the cliff’s edge. I open my eyes and for a second see Tris' face in front of me. She was frowning, like she was disappointed at something.
And the image of her frowning face is enough to make me rethink my jump. Would she want me to do this? To kill myself so we could be together? Will I even see her after I die? Do I want to do this if it’ll only upset her?
I think back to all the things we've done together, all the fight we've been through, even that time when she went behind my back and helped Marcus. I remember her telling me it was okay to shoot her because she didn't want to fight me anymore. The look in her eyes and the way she said my name, like she was ready to die for me, for my sake.
As the image of Tris disappears, I make my decision. Taking a deep breath, I step away from the cliff's edge and just stare at that space where I last saw her.
I will live. For her. I will do everything I can to make her happy even though she's not here. Because I'm pretty sure she wouldn't want me to die just like that, even if it meant being together again. I know this because if our tables were turned and I was the one lying lifeless in the morgue, I would want her to live a full life without me. I would want her to move on and be happy even though it’ll be hard. Because I’d rather see her live without me than hurt herself for a chance at seeing me again.
So that's what I'll do.
I may no longer have the future I’ve dreamed of with Tris, but I still have chance at a future of making her happy and telling everyone about the bravery of the Abnegation girl who risked her life to find who she is and to save everyone she loved.
I will treasure our memories forever and live everyday for her. Because that’s what you do when you truly love someone. You live for them.