Author: gij

Rating: R for adult themes and some violence. I guess it counts as violence.

Summary: Liz is in a dark place, and Max struggles to understand how to help her.

Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell or Ben Folds Five. The song "Drift" is actually called "Brick", but I changed the name and one word of the lyrics, and now it has an entirely new meaning. I absolutely recommend the song.

Structure


Dark hair against a pillow.

A single deep colored lock curls and forms a loop before continuing a waving path against a white background.

You’d hate it if you saw it, I know. You prefer your hair straight and behaving, uncomplicated. You prefer your everything straight and uncomplicated. You always have, Liz.

You complained all through the heat wave last year, I remember. You’d pull out the damp curls that would form at the back of your neck and framing your face, and give this deep, long suffering sighs. Then you’d find your comb yet again in a vain attempt to straighten.

I don’t know why you kept trying, really. It wasn’t a big thing. But even as I think this I can see you frowning and reminding me that big things are made up of small things, so we should pay attention to all of them. You’re right, and I can understand if it upset your structure, your sense of balance. God knows that something did.

But I do understand, and in a way, that’s what makes this even harder. I do understand.

That doesn’t mean I won’t try to stop you.

*********************************************************************

I remember the few times you lost that structuring, Liz. Lost your focus, your intensity, your control. It hasn’t happened often, but my God we knew about it when it did. You’ve scared me more than once, you know – you’ve scared us all. I guess that doesn’t matter, because it was what you needed, maybe. But still.

Like the time you screamed at Tess in Vegas. You’d finally told me about the whole Future Max scenario, while drunk out of your mind and off your face. You obviously had no idea what you were saying or who you were saying it to. But I believed you, and the next morning, after I’d helped you with a killer hangover, you remembered. And then we told the others.

Maria knew. I could tell by the look on her face as you told the story, and you confirmed it for me later. Alex muttered that nothing Czechoslovakian surprised him any more and Kyle was just grateful I wasn’t trying to kill him any more.

Isabel believed you. I think at the time, she believed in our love more than we did, because she didn’t hesitate to believe you would do something like that if I asked you to. And she was right.

I think it took Michael a while longer, but he believed you, too. He either couldn’t or didn’t want to understand what you’d given up for him – for all of us – but he believed you.

Tess, though – she scorched the air with her swearing. I learned about things I didn’t know were possible in that thirty second string of obscenity. Then she jumped up, starting stalking around and getting in your face, calling you a liar, a tramp, twisting circumstances to make her a villain and you a victim.

Both Alex and I had to be physically restrained to stop us form killing her for that. And in any case, she wasted her time.

You sat up from where you’d been leaning on the couch, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so angry, before or since. You threw destiny back in her face, and you told her about fate. You asked if you were a liar, what that made her. Willing to turn us over to the skins. Betraying you all, getting us all killed. Mind warping me, so many times. Forcing me into that kiss in the rain and those delusions in Biology. For every shit story she’d ever spun about herself or Nasedo.

You told exactly what you thought of her – what we all secretly thought of her – and I was impressed. You were honest, you were methodic, you went right back to the beginning and reminded Tess of every dishonest, sneaky unpleasant thing she’d done since coming to Roswell.

I have never been so proud of you in my life. And then you turned to me and asked me to do something about your hangover because “All the shouting” was bringing it back.

We all laughed ourselves sick at that one. It even helped heal a little of the rift that existed between you and Tess, I think. Crazy, but true. The thruth helped her, and it set us all free.

But what’s the truth now, Liz? And where the hell is it?

*********************************************************************

6am, day after Christmas,
I throw some clothes on in the dark
The smell of cold
Car seat is freezing
The world is sleeping
I am numb


*********************************************************************

I remember you telling me more than once that lies were the roots of all evil, and that to get the truth you had to start with an all new equation. You were tight, I think – I can’t imagine believing you about Future Max under any other circumstances. Well, I can, but that you were too drunk to make up stories helped.

Part of what convinced me, though – you were babbling. You kept talking about truth and honesty and how the two aren’t necessarily related. You babble a lot when you’re drunk, you know. You can be an angry drunk, but mostly you babble. Like all of us, really.

But the thing is, most people babble about purely superficial things. You babble about deep and meaningfuls – what truth is, what honesty really means, whether there was a God. How much you loved me. I’ll admit that those were my favorites.

You’d cross over, too – I remember one time you’d had a few drunks, not enough that you didn’t know what you were saying, but enough that you felt pretty free, and you started singing.

You don’t sing normally – I think because you’re embarrassed to be shown up by Maria, but you’re not that bad. Sometimes. Sometimes, of course, you’re awful. But you know that.

Thing was, though, that that was one of the nights you were thinking about God. And so you demonstrated a large repertoire of Christian Camp songs you knew. I had no idea where you learned them, and no idea why you were singing them, and I decided it was time to take you home.

Apparently, you weren’t as drunk as I thought, because when we got home you started singing one that seemed to apply to us – or it did, after you interpreted it to me.

Somewhere in outer space
God has prepared a place
For those who love him and obey…


And you started suggesting that I was God, since I came form outer space (I didn’t really follow that logic – maybe you really were that drunk), and created a “special place” to take you to…

Yes, you seduced me, Liz. And as you know it worked very well. I still think it was that night that we conceived our daughter.

*********************************************************************

Up the stairs to her apartment
She is balled up on the couch
Her mom and dad went down to Charlotte
they're not home to find us out


*********************************************************************

I remember when you first told me, Liz. I mean when you told me you were pregnant. That inside you, that tiny body of yours was a child. My child. Our child.

Our daughter, to be absolutely one hundred percent accurate.

It still amazes me that someone so small could contain so much life. There was you, just to begin with, and I know the saying that big things come in small packages, but you kept on surprising me. Just how big a person you really are. How can one person contain so much heart, so much honesty, so much love and passion? Especially someone so physically tiny as you. It didn’t make sense. It still doesn’t,

And then you were carrying our daughter, too.

I can never explain the emotions that fill me as I think that. Your daughter. Our daughter. Yours and mine, a tiny person we created entirely through our love. I feel wonder, certainly. Amazement. Incredulity, almost. And definitely love.

That’s the all-encompassing word, I think. Love.

I loved her, of course. Loved her, loved you. She was part of both me and you and we loved her with all the intensity of the connection we shared. It extended to her, too, of course. That’s how you found out you were pregnant. Reached for me and found her as well. And I loved that too, that I could tell you both without words just how much you meant to me.

How many expecting fathers can say that they have already spoken to their child? It was incredible. It still is incredible. Even if we did lose it eventually.

I remember when you carried her, your tummy took forever to grow, and I think you appreciated that. You complained once that I thought more about her than you, and you thought you weren’t sexy any more. But you were smiling as you said it, and your hand rested over the tiny swell in your belly, and so I think you were joking.

In any case, what we did next proved you were totally wrong, Liz. But you knew that.

And like I said, you were full of life. I know you still are, somewhere. I know that somewhere hidden inside you, part of you is still fighting to live.

Even if I can’t see it, and the only way I know you’re alive at times is the slow, steady beep of your heart monitor. And it’s steady and continued, it keeps going. It’s structured.

If you were awake, I would be laughing so hard right now, Liz.

*********************************************************************

And we drive
Now that I have found someone
I'm feeling more alone
Than I ever have before


*********************************************************************

You were right again, you know. You said that people could love too much. I, dreamer that I am, said no one could ever love too much. You laughed and told me it was a nice philosophy, but to try not to take it too far in life.

Maybe you were right, though. Maybe I did love you both too much, maybe I smothered you. Maybe that’s why you were so stubbornly independent the whole time you were pregnant. Maybe you needed space and I was in the way.

Maybe that’s why you insisted Michael and I follow the trace that time. You were barely halfway to term, so it wasn’t as big a deal as it might have been later. Maybe that was why you stopped Maria calling as soon as you knew our daughter might be in trouble. Maybe that’s why you went into labour four months early and our daughter died on our lounge room floor.

You told me and Michael to go for the weekend, that we were driving you crazy, and we might learn something. We both hovered around you, I know – me because it was our daughter, Michael because he believed he had to protect the first heir to the Royal four. Whatever the reason, you made us go.

I never should have left you.

I mean, we thought it would be okay. You hardly showed and no one else knew you were pregnant. Isabel and Maria stayed with you, just in case. Tess came with Michael and I, but it wouldn’t have mattered if she stayed – she couldn’t have helped you, Liz.

It was five o’clock when you slipped on spilled water in the kitchen and fell. You told Maria and Isabel you were fine.

It was 7 o’clock when you had pains, but your brushed it off, said it was from the fall, wouldn’t let Maria or Isabel call us.

It was 8:30 when you gave in and called me. Your mind, your pain, reached out across the distance and reeled me back in.

But I was in the next state, Liz. There was no way I could get back to you in time.

And so it was 9:36 pm, April 23rd that you, alone in your mind and in pain, felt our daughter die.

I should have known what would come next. I should never have left you. I won’t ever leave you again.

*********************************************************************

She's adrift and I'm drowning slowly
Off the coast and I'm headed nowhere
She's adrift and I'm drowning slowly


*********************************************************************

You had counseling, of course. We both did. I insisted. Your parents insisted, when they found out what happened. Maria and Alex and Isabel and even Tess insisted. You agreed, but I think you agreed too easily.

When did you ever give in easily to anything, Liz? You wouldn’t ever let me take a step back from our relationship, and you wouldn’t let go of me for Tess – not until the accursed word of destiny, of course. But that’s another story.

So we had therapy, separately and joint. Overall, it helped me, I guess. We lost our child before term, before she had a chance to really experience the world, and no one can ever really get over that – especially not the mother, not you, Liz. And you and I had been even closer to our daughter than was normal, and we couldn’t talk about that. It made a hard situation that much worse.

And I think you started pulling away from us all, even that early. We didn’t make love much any more – we’d lie in bed just holding each other, but there were times I thought you were a million miles away from me and everything we both cared about.

And you didn’t deserve that, Liz. You deserve so much more than this. So much more than I or anyone else can give you.

So I guess you tried to find it on your own.

*********************************************************************

They call her name at 7:30
I pace around the parking lot
Then I walk down to buy her flowers
And sell some gifts that I got


*********************************************************************

I remember the first time I realized something might be – well, more wrong. We were out walking, and I took your hand. And there was a long, shallow cut down the inside of your palm.

I asked how it had happened, and you had a plausible story all ready for me. You’d been slicing food, you said, and the knife slipped and cut you.

I believed you, of course. After all the times you’d talked about truth and honesty and how much you believed in them, I didn’t have the mental set to believe anything else. Maybe that was deliberate. And of course, how open and loving we tried to make our relationship. We told each other everything, I thought. At the very least I told you.

I healed it for you, and that should have been it.

But somehow the image kept coming back to me, and I didn’t understand why. Finally I realized what didn’t make sense – how exactly did a knife slip so that it makes a long, even gash across the inside of your hand?

It doesn’t. But I didn’t know that yet. I didn’t know what was wrong or why.

*********************************************************************

Can't you see
It's not me you're dying for
Now she's feeling more alone
Than she ever has before


*********************************************************************

That was the most obvious one, now that I sit and think about it. The only obvious one, I could say. I think it was the only time you did… that. But I could be wrong.

After that, it was bruises, scratched, odd marks on your skin. When I asked you about it, you made some comment about being naturally clumsy and let me heal it, and that was it. Well, sometimes you let me heal it, other times you just smiled and told me to leave it.

Once or twice you said you didn’t have your balance back yet after the baby. That was the only time you ever mentioned her, and I should have realized that. It was more important than I realized.

And I realize now that they were deliberately vague answers. I know that now. At the time, I was mildly suspicious. But we’d just lost our first child, and I didn’t want to lose you too – didn’t want to push you away and pressure you too much. Maybe I should have. As it was, I didn’t know how bad it was til the day I came home and found you in the bathtub, naked and bleeding.

I walked in the front door and called your name. You didn’t answer, I assumed you’d be sleeping on our bed again. You did that a lot around then. Another sign I should have seen, but somehow missed. So I went into the bathroom to clean up before joining you, and I found you there instead.

You’d slit your wrists, Liz.

I remember, I stood there, staring for a moment. Then I was grabbing for you, a towel to slow the bleeding, pulling you out and into my lap, desperate to heal you.

I remember you didn’t make a move and you didn’t make a sound. I was sobbing and choking and terrified, and you were totally silent.

I healed you, of course. And you told me it had been a mistake, a moment of weakness, stupidity, unintentional. And you’d never do it again.

And we never told the others, you for your own reasons, me because I just didn’t know how.

The one thing I will always remember, though, is the look on your face as I walked in. the knife was on the edge of the bath and the water was steadily turning pink. But you, you kept looking up, and you met my eyes as I came in.

When I walked in, you were smiling.

*********************************************************************

She's adrift and I'm drowning slowly
Off the coast and I'm headed nowhere
She's adrift and I'm drowning slowly


*********************************************************************

You tried again, obviously. That’s why we’re here now. The details don’t matter – what does matter is that this time you got further, and by the time you got there, I couldn’t help you.

We didn’t tell the others. And I should have, I know that now. Because they didn’t know…

It meant that Maria didn’t bother you when you took an extra long bath. It meant that you got so much further and you were unconscious by the time I got there and I couldn’t help you, and Maria was sobbing as paramedics loaded you into an ambulance.

It meant that I failed you again. And I refuse to fail you again.


*********************************************************************

As weeks went by
It showed that she was not fine
They told me son it's time to tell the truth
She broke down and I broke down
Cause I was tired of lying


*********************************************************************

It’s been about three weeks now, you know. They say you lost a heap of blood, that’s why you don’t wake up. I think I knew better, Liz.

You keep leaving me, Liz, and it’s not good. It’s not helping either of us. You keep reaching for something that I don’t think either of us can get to yet, and you leave me further behind every time you make another attempt.

I’m trying to let you come back to me, Liz, but I don’t think I ever realized before just how far from me you’ve already gotten.

Like I said, Liz, I keep failing you. And you kept leaving me, so maybe that’s fair, but I it doesn’t change the fact that I need you. That we all do. And I’m not sure you realize just how much.

Everyone is trying to help you, now. Michael haunts the place, blaming himself that he didn’t protect you or the baby enough. I’ve told him it isn’t his fault, but I think he needs to hear it from you. And maybe even that won’t be enough.

Isabel keeps trying to dream walk you, but I think you’re keeping her out somehow. It figures that the one time we need you to let us in, you can’t. After all the times I know Izzy has walked in and out of our heads, this really sucks. But she comes with Alex when he visits, too. They’ve both crawled on the bed with you there, Liz, many times. Trying to share warmth, comfort, love, with you. Part of me believes you feel it.

Tess, Kyle and Maria… well, it’s strange, but sometimes they visit separately and sometimes in one big crowd. Kyle sits and holds your hand and talks to you about the past. He tells you stories and keeps you up to date with school and friends and everything.

Tess apologizes a lot. I wish she wouldn’t. I told her you wouldn’t want her to, that you wouldn’t blame her for this. That I don’t blame her for what’s happened to you.

She started at me with those blue eyes for a long time and finally said – “The Welsh have a saying – ‘Un pechod a lusg gant ar ei ol’. You should look it up.” Then she and Kyle got up and left together.

I did look it up. It’s a proverb “One sin draws a hundred after it”. I don’t claim to understand, but I think she believes if she hadn’t come to Roswell, you wouldn’t be trying to die now. When you wake up, you have to talk to her, Liz. she won’t listen to me. And maybe she’s right, but the facts and the blame are entirely separate issues here.

Maria comes every day, of course. I wouldn’t have expected anything else. She tried everything. She says se’s trying to be you for a while - “Miss Science”, she says. She tries all these experimental techniques for bringing people out of comas. She talks, sings, plays music, brings aromatherapy pots, rubs your hands, touches your face and hugs you. I think it helps her that she’s trying to do something, anything, for you.

And me – I stay here, Liz.

I try to be everything and do everything you would want me to. I’m strong when some of them need it. I let other people feel strong when they feel helpless.

I stay with you. That never changes. I study you. I try and understand the contrast of your dark hair against the white pillow slip, your lips and lashes against your skin.

Maria has left one of her cds on. She wants it to keep playing for a couple hours, see if you respond at all to a more prolonged session. I think she’s going to try and get Isabel to dream walk you again while it’s playing.

It’s Ben Folds Five, and it’s that song, Drift. It’s about an abortion, you know. I didn’t always know this. I played it for most of the “destiny” summer. That is, until Maria got sick of my whiny self indulgence, sat me down and told me what it was really about.

And despite the obvious difference here, Liz, that you would never choose to abort a pregnancy, a child, I think it’s relevant. And it’s in a way that hurts, because you are drifting, and I’m watching you as I myself drown slowly. And I can’t help you, and you’re too far away to realize how bad I’m hurting.

I am hurting, Liz. I hurt more every time you try and leave me. But I’m not sure you know that.

And I know you hurt, too. But the difference is, you don’t let it out. You suppress it, I think, and it’s not helping you.

Maybe that’s why you started hurting yourself. Take the pain on the inside, purge it and farewell. I don’t know, Liz. But that isn’t helping, either, and it has to stop.

I hope you understand that, Liz. That I can’t let you hurt yourself any more because it’s hurting me and the rest of us too badly. I hope you understand that and don’t take it as a reason to finally walk away.

Right now you’re pulling away, Liz, but I know part of you is still here. And that part of you has never left.

But it could. And that’s your choice. You could die now, Liz, and leave me as a fraction of a person. You’re inside me, a vital part of me. If you die now, you’re going to kill us both. I just hope you understand that, too.

But still, some small part of me refuses to believe that you want to die.

And until the day you prove me wrong, Liz, the rest of me will continue to hope that it’s right.

Let me be right, Liz. Give in gracefully to me, just this once. And I swear, I’ll never argue with you about anything, ever again. And if I do, you can hit me until I stop.

Please be all right, Liz.

Please be all right.



Driving home to her apartment
For the moment we're alone
She's alone
And I'm alone
Now I know it


*********************************************************************


[ edited 3 time(s), last at 31-May-2002 2:17:47 AM ]