Freedom's Just Another Word...

Bernice

Written between Season Two and Season three, when we had heard rumours of Ray leaving.  Originally printed in Twogether

I bow to your Dragon Lady, and let her cut in. You and I have been dancing around each other too long now, too many years. Getting closer, then dancing away again, then she taps me on the shoulder, cuts in, and you swing away, dancing a new dance with her. I’ve been dancing here alone, like some drunken woman with her skirt over hear head in the corner, waiting for you to come back to me. Save the last dance for me? I’ll be gone before the party is over. I’m not going to be the last to leave. I’m leaving alone, and I’m leaving first, while I have some tiny scrap of dignity left. Don’t you love my poetic metaphor, Benny? I’ve been learning about stuff like that, poetry and Inuit stories and ancient songs. I wish I didn’t know these things, wish I’d never had to learn. I’m no good at all this fancy stuff, not even when just talking to myself in my own head.

Undercover work, what a break! Of course, it means worrying my family, possibly losing my few friends... okay, apart from you I have none, but that’s no never mind. But the best thing... I mean, the worst thing... it means leaving you. And that hurts, like cutting off my arm with a potato peeler to get rid of a hang nail.

Is this a stupid solution? It won’t be the first stupid thing I’ve ever done. Should I stay and fight? I never fought before, just accepted that any chance I had – which I had never had, I knew that, honestly I did – any chance I had vanished when another dark haired, pale skinned beauty stepped onto the dance floor. Twisting you around. What is it with you and those dark haired beauties? I have dark hair... or I did once. But I’ll never be beautiful. You’re not that shallow... or is it all so much more basic than that. What would you do if you found out how much I love you? Be shocked and disgusted? That’s just not natural, Ray. No, never disgusted. You’d look at me with your vague non understanding, which would dissolve into embarrassed pity.

So I’ll just disappear, and become someone else. I’ll just pretend to be another person, and perhaps I’ll become another person, a person who doesn’t need you.

But you need. You always needed me, to hold your hand through this hellish city. But you never needed me the way I need you. The way you need her. So you’ll find someone else. Some other schmuck will find out how much you need, and how good it is to be needed by you. It won’t take long, the schmucks will line up to take my place. The coward disappears underground, into the darkness, leaving a yawning space that you’ll rush to fill. But it’s easier to hide in the darkness than be burnt by the sun.

Will you compare him to me? Ray never did this, Ray always did that? Will he get your name right, and laugh at your Inuit tales, and understand your stupid sense of humour, and love your annoying wolf? Will you like that, will you like someone who fits you perfectly? Or will you miss me and my ‘in your face’ attitude and temper. Or will you find someone else just like me, just enough that it doesn’t hurt so much. Someone else streetwise, ugly, sexy, annoying, loud. I guess that depends on whether you tear off your bandages quick, get it over with, or if you pull them off real slow. You always tore them off quick, but maybe my leaving will be too painful a wound? Or is that just my ego speaking?

Will you think of me, in the darkness, hiding from your light? You burn too brightly for me, Benny. Your warmth spread into my bones, leaching out the cold, but unlike the warmth of the sun your warmth accumulates like some poisons, until I think I could catch fire. Nothing soothes the fires inside, if I’m not with you I can’t stand the cold, when you’re here I’m so hot I sweat and tremble.

Sometimes I think maybe I can understand why some people choose death. Sometimes, no matter how horrifying the final frontier, it’s gotta be easier than living with this kinda shit. But hey, I gotta family to feed, and, to be frank, I wouldn’t give anyone that kinda satisfaction.

Don’t you like my solution? I can die inside, away from the light, and everyone’ll think I’m doing such a wonderful job.

So I’ll leave you and her dancing, and I’ll leave Him, cause I know there’ll be a Him, watching from the corner. I hope He doesn’t drink, you’ll kill Him if He does.

And where am I, metaphorically speaking? Under the building, sharing a toke with the geeks who can’t get dates for the dance looking up through the cracks in the dance floor, trying to catch a glimpse of you as you dance by. And when I break these geeks, bring them in for the courts, and come back into the light, what then? Maybe by then I won’t need you so much any more, maybe I’ll find someone else to dance with. Maybe we’ll even be best man at each other’s weddings. You to her, me to whoever, and Him to... well, maybe He’ll still be in the corner of the dance floor, wondering what the hell happened to His life.

It don’t matter now, as long as I don’t have to dance any more. My feet hurt, I’m giving my heart a break. 

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