Healthy Delusion

Nolan knelt before Emma's grave and placed a flower near its base. "I'm here thinking to myself, and wondering if somehow you can hear this. I suppose I could say it aloud but if I believe in spirits I should believe in their telepathy. Somehow speaking to you was easier before now, in my head, when I was lying in bed just thinking about what I'd tell you if you hadn't gone. Now that I'm finally seeing your grave my thoughts are messy. I didn't bring you a rose because you hated them - what woman with class wouldn't? They're too cliche. What we shared was a bit better than some simplified version of romance and cardboard hearts. Instead I brought you a flower from the park you always took me to. I don't even know what kind it is, but it's pretty, and it's significant somehow. I didn't talk to you for so long before you passed away, even if it was only a few days. You needed kindness. That's everyone's need, it's immediate. There's a quote I like that goes, 'There's no time not to love.' ...It's much easier said." Nolan let out a sigh.

"There are many things I'd like to say, like how any man must know absolute despair before he's prepared to appreciate real happiness. Any man or woman. There, are you happy? Misery and cruelty are unpleasant things but they forge an understanding. It's a good thing. Maybe not a good thing, but a necessary one. For instance, now that you're gone, it's hard on me. I've been miserable long enough to get over your missteps and can only focus on my mess ups. I can look at others' actions in a positive light but nothing I've done gets the courtesy. I'm bad, if I wasn't, you might still be alive. You're in heaven now, maybe, where you belong. You know I don't believe that, though. You're six feet below me and you're decaying matter, so why am I here and speaking to you? Your family wanted you to have this stupid stone and they don't even realize it's the last thing you would've wanted."

"It's so easy to say now that I've had guilt, when it was impossible to say before. Why should this be easier in death? It's non-sense. An apology never solved a single shit. Instead, I'd try to make up for it by doing good things and buying you things, but I'm sure it came off transparent and pathetic. I don't really believe that, you were kind and gentle to my gestures. But it's hard not to be hard on yourself. Without some suffering, you can't remove the little pricks of pain that come with misunderstandings, or understand how they come about. And I know this has been said before. It's certainly not news to a smart girl like you. 'If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each man's life a sadness and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.' That's a quote by Henry Wadsworth something. It applies. And the ridding hostility part isn't about letting people walk all over you, it's about not holding hate and resentment when you judge and treat others."

"My view on things is cold, yet somehow understanding, for even the bad things. This didn't match well with you, with your frailty and kind-hearted naivete. I'm not wholly understanding, but somewhere I fell for the silly notion of unconditional love... so long as I have cages and keys for the people who disagree with me. Everything's contradictory, because some things aren't. It's not easier in death. I'm not really talking to you. It's easier in life to say what you need to say but we avoid it as if there's any great fear or consequence that could result. It's all in our heads. Is it because it's easier to deal with pain if we emotionally play dead? That's the excuse for our slow unraveling of delusions and deceptions and fears. But it's just that, smoke and mirrors. But hey, what's wrong with smoke and mirrors? Are they not entertaining?" Nolan let out a sigh. "Sometimes hurting others is the only way react to hurt. Admittedly it's an archaic method. But see I've been speaking in general terms, like I'm giving a lecture, 'cause I can't admit it to someone who's not alive, or even myself. Here goes: I hurt you. You've passed away."

"The time I went to see you, some hours by train, I was afraid. It had been so long since my last visit. I feared you'd be indifferent since our time ended on a bad note. More than that I feared I would die in a trainwreck. I'm always thinking about death, but nothing amplifies that feeling like the potential for joy, because then something's at stake. Things are only exciting when you walk the tracks, and there, awful things are unavoidable. I feared dying without knowing if you cared, but more so I feared dying without you knowing that I did. Imagine your life flashed before your eyes and you were left with uncertainty. Then it happened. I hope you died without doubts. I have a long life to ponder it, and study and try to justify my actions, all for cowardice and coincidence and an inability to communicate. I wish you were around to whisper to me, 'It's okay, I understand,' and finally be aligned and honest, and read each other perfectly for a minute, just one. I think that only happens in movies, or in great circumstances involving brave men, not cowards who shy away from words."

"You're gone and I shouldn't expect a response from a ghost. Maybe it's better left ambiguous. I can delude myself into some implausible scenario where all the wrongs were eventually corrected. Instead I'll say perfection awaits the day you come back to life. I'd rather hold the delusion that somehow things can be mended, for the sake of my health. But perhaps I didn't care much if I was willing to let you die. Sorry I couldn't cry here. I'm not owed the satisfaction. I won't come back to visit you. You better than anyone know how out of the ordinary it is for me to dabble in the supernatural like this. That and I don't want to bump into your family. If there's anything good I can tell you before I'm gone from you like you are to me, I'll go with what works... sleep well, sweet dreams." Nolan slowly got up and walked away.

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