No one remembers our wedding.
While I painstakingly planned for it in secret for months, I thought doing so would mean I could control one solitary aspect of our relationship. I thought if I married you just so, in the way that I knew we belonged to one another, I would be able to keep some semblance of order about us straight in my head. Your uniform and my dress would freeze us forever as I knew we were. But... the Universal Reversal that comes to steal the plans of all the good little boys and girls of Gray House visited us, and it was gone forever, along with whatever I thought we were.
Like Dean's bedroom, we didn't talk about it, and only Rosie wondered out loud, "So, what's up with Evie and Brad's wedding?" further cementing the idea in me that we're a secret. That everything that exists between us must be kept totally silent or it would be justified away. Compromised. Handed out to other people.
Brad, I love you, but you and me? We're fucking sellouts. We believe in exactly one love eternal, and it isn't with each other. But I think it's really fucked up that we're trying. It makes me want to believe in more than just the one. It makes me do all these stupid things that everyone says are beautiful and you and I fear are basically pointless, in our darkest moments of nihilism. I don't know Brad, is it beautiful? Because some days it just feels like the massacre of everything sacred onto the windshield of a tour bus.
I was trying to say what happened to us on our wedding night, but I stopped when I realized I was doing it so people would believe we had one. I wanted people to know how you touch me in the dark when no one else is around, because maybe I think people think we're a joke, deep down. It can feel like that sometimes. We fight, and we fuck, and we forget each other again on the outside, but inside this war continues over things delicate enough to be called antimatter or atmosphere. I wanted to prove to everyone else that we have these mechanics, and a way we work. And I was proud of myself that I didn't, because it means that I don't need anyone to believe me anymore. Nobody else makes us real anymore.
I've memorized every expression your eyes make.
I mention our wedding night, because I have the same impulse here, when tasked with describing your suicide. To leave it all unsaid, because it was between us, but the only reason I'm saying anything at all is for Rosie. I made her a promise that the years she spent buried in secrets with Clyde and an inch from death would someday mean something, and if I did that to us, I would be spitting on the memory of their forgotten teenage love, which I've come to adore enough to want to emulate.
And I would emulate it with no one but you, so maybe that's our real connection. That we both want to die under the other, lost in secrets that defy their own expression. Maybe that's who we really want to be. Stolen, and sealed off in hidden rooms for the rest of eternity. What do you say, Brad? Do you want to drive me to the end of the world in your car? It's fast enough that no one could catch up with us. I could get us lost. I could take us somewhere the only thing we know for certain is the smell of the other one.
People would pass us like hitchhikers on the highway; Adam and Jack and Clydeagain...
Say no, Brad. Just fucking do us a favor and say no. I'll tell the story, and you say no, and we'll do this the right way and stop starving our already emaciated hearts trying to prove we can live without... this.
I started crying. I can't remember if it's just me I'm talking to again.
We talk about being twins like it's some kind of destination on that road to the absolute zero of the emptiness of the Angels, and maybe that's so, but if there's one thing your map showed me, it's that from this point, that place and any other is already possible.
And I know how this world fell apart. I know how this reality became the moth-eaten cheesecloth that it is. You and me did more than a little bit of work to make it that way - to stretch it to fit the truths we wanted with each other. We keep trying to become everything to one another. We keep trying to believe that's possible. We keep trying to prove... that no one exists but you and me. You could call me Clyde, if you want to. I'll call you Bonnie, if you're serious.
No one knows more of my names than you.
Whatever Drama has in operatic gesture, he lacks in ceremony, and so your body and John's were dumped into the shallows of the River Eden near the train station that departs to the Moon. The river there narrows to something closer-resembling a ditch along the tracks, and the blood congeals and clogs there to a crust that attracts mosquitoes.
In the wasteland where I was waiting as Annik, you crossed the barren lands on fast legs while your bodies mended in the river. I didn't watch, with Adam. I didn't believe what Ian had said about me. I don't believe in my own power, or divinity, or holiness, unless I see it also in you. What a nightmare we must've been for our parents, to have to divide everything by threes.
But when I saw you come into my cave, poet sacrifice that you were, I took an interest for the first time in this place I'd been marooned, without my usual sense of irony and detachment.
The first rule of Justified is denial. Deny what you are so no one can take it from you. I was never going to admit that I was Annik until you said I was her. I was never going to act like I was Annik until you needed me to.
"I don't enshrine your death," was the first thing I told you. "This isn't a place for the noble. It's a place for the desperate."
"And what relief do you grant for desperation?" you asked me, and I saw a light in your eyes, cold and distant, and I knew you were not Jim, or Billy, or any other poet name you've ever lied and said was yours.
"None," I told you. "I'm what you were desperate for."
"The beauty engendered," John guessed, lifting up a rock covered in frost, and melting the rime in his hands. "It would stand to reason it was cold."
In that place, there was something pale about the two of you, and something razor-thin. You looked collegiate, in your uniforms. You hair hung lank in both your faces, and while John's face is heavily scarred, I could tell you were identical.
"A poet... finds the cracks in things where light is shining which doesn't yet have words," I explained to you, quoting Matthew. "You died because you flew too close to the light. You wanted the words too badly."
"And you're the light, is that right?" you asked.
I was aware as you were talking that your circulatory systems were entwining at the river, grown in concert the way they were as twins and separating eventually, as you grew apart from the root. I was aware that you had become young boys unknowing of your endlessness. I was aware that you were new wicks in candles never lit. That you'd killed yourselves in service of an idea you had little to no understanding of.
There was a drawling pretension to your movements that meant you'd come here by some mistake of innocence. That you had come only to impress Mr. Keating, as Matthew had suggested; come to the cave where the words were read with no understanding of their gravity, to invoke old gods whose names had been forgotten. Leave it to you to make my eternal prison superficial, or boring, or droll.
But the distant shine in your eyes told me a different story, and made you seem more dangerous than any creature I'd ever met. It's the same shine in the eyes of psychopaths and sons of congressmen and Peter Pan. A boy with unlimited magic, and no sense of morality.
I kissed you on the mouth, and then John, just as I at the river was pulling your veins gently in the shallows to separate to two systems which would beat the same blood. As your arteries slipped into the wounds you'd opened, and down John's throat, I slid your white shirts down from your thin shoulders.
I painted your skin white and black and gray in the cold, smearing soot on to the white paint in long brush strokes.
"What are you writing?" you asked me, laying next to John on the frozen ground.
"Nothing," I admitted.
"It feels like you are," John whispered, his hand gripping for yours in the dark.
"It's only ash," I told you, and your head came up, off the stone ground, in a kind of alarm.
"From where?" you asked me, and I told you.