If It Makes You Happy
"If it makes you happy, then it can't be that bad.
If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?" -Sheryl Crow
I remember that it was raining that day. Being inside those walls was beginning to drive us mad. And no one else was around; they were either in town or had buried themselves somewhere in the bowels of the mansion. There was no one to care, no one to watch, no one to judge. And so we ran outside, letting the water soak through every inch of our clothing and make long, snaking tendrils of our hair which conspired to tickle skin with their tiny wet slaps. We cackled and shrieked like mad things, spinning around in some demented excuse for a dance. It was a miracle we didn't slip on the cobblestones. But then, you never think of things like that when you're in the moment, when there are only the two of you and the rain and it seems you will never get tired of laughing. God knows why we did it. We weren't children and we weren't a pair of teenagers drowning in puppy love. It just seemed like...that's what the rain was for.
It was the day we arrived in Nibelheim, that I knew for certain you were for me. Staring up at the sky, so overcast and grey it seemed impossible the sun was hiding beneath it all. But you just looked around, grinning, and exclaimed, "It's like you could almost touch it, Vincent!"
And I understood precisely what you meant. Somedays when the sun shines, it looks so bright and fake, as though the light leeched out life itself, substance bleeding away with the color. But on days like that one and that...the world was alive with a liquid shimmer that almost demanded you put out a hand and sink into it. Feel it flow around your skin, like silk with a hint of warmth you couldn't quite grasp. You were really there, instead of being the only point of solidarity in a world of pallid light. The clouds covered the sky, and kept life in....not letting it flow away, up to the stars that had no need for it.
I look back now, and wonder if instead, heaven was crying for us and we didn't even realize it.
When we had gone back inside and dried off, you sat in front of the fire, brushing your hair. It would fly up at the end, trying to follow the sweep of the brush as it ascended to begin its path anew. And right then, it was like looking at one of those stop-motion photographs, as if I could always pull that moment out of my back pocket when I wanted to look at it again. As if you would always be there, smiling and loving the rain. Loving me.
But as I said, you never think of things like that when you're in the moment itself. And afterwards, it's too late.
It was evening, when you finally told me. That was when all the awful, possible scenarios began playing out in my mind. You could have slipped, you could have caught pneumonia, being out in the cold like that. You wouldn't have just been hurting yourself. Not anymore.
And why didn't you tell me before?
It's the same thing I do now; this insane, useless, never-ending analysis of after the fact. You could have lived.
If I'd done something...something...before.
Maybe you thought I wouldn't be happy for you, because he wasn't mine and never could be. Or maybe it just had to do with the way you sectioned off your life. Kept it all neat and tidy, organized in its little 'boxes' in your mind. Very scientific. Have fun with me, be serious with him. Love me, have his child. And the two worlds shall not overlap.
But I was happy for you, as much as I could be under the circumstances. You were what mattered to me; as long as you were happy, then... It was all right.
And really, I didn't know what to do. I look back now and rant at myself for not tearing the bastard's head off, for not taking you away no matter what. But you never think of things like that when you're in the moment itself. I was no knight in shining armor. I love you; always have and always will. But you were no princess either.
And most importantly, life was no faery tale. No happy endings for people like us, a hired killer and a devoted advocate of science. We weren't supposed to believe in faery tales. Were we?
In my naivete, I forgot that. I forgot that my navy blue was closer to black than to shining silver, that my pistol was no sword, that I had no shield.
I soon found that last point to be the sticker.
Form dictates that it have been a horrible day, when the time came that I could watch you suffer no more, even if you did say it was what you wanted. Thunder would have been nice....lightning, the coup de grace. But at the least, looming grey stormclouds were a necessity. And God knows, it wouldn't have been uncommon, not in Nibelheim.
Instead, the sun was shining. The sky was a clear, vibrant blue and I could hear the village children running and screaming in the streets. Sometimes I wonder if they noticed the gunshot. Then I realize it hardly matters now; they grew up...and they died, and I will never have a chance to ask.
Dear God, the world changed so much while I lay in that coffin. I scarcely knew it when I finally awoke. I didn't want to leave at that point; it was all I had left. I just wanted to hide away for the rest of time, like a coward.
I was...frightened, 'Crecia. Terrified. I thought that perhaps my love, once as brilliant and passionate as the red of the velvet upon which I lay, had crumbled and musted along with it as I slept. I thought that if I could hate him, then I would still be capable of loving you. If I could feel one thing, I could feel another.
That's why I went with them; a caricature of an avenging angel...or, perhaps a more apt description, a demon released from hell to claim one of its own. Nothing shames me so much as the fact that it was your name that I bore before me as a banner proclaiming my right. As if that exonerated me and condemned him.
But when we finally stood before him, I could see nothing save a broken, sickly man whose dreams had grown teeth and talons and devoured him. I could not bring myself to hate that. And with such a realization, I saw even myself in that same light; a pitiful human who hadn't meant for things to turn out the way they did.
After that, I couldn't hate myself anymore either. But most importantly of all, I realized I still loved you.
And you know, the funny thing was...it was raining then, too.
I do not know where I am. Not really. It doesn't matter. The wood of the chair beneath me and that of the table before me curls up in microscopic splinters, waiting to snare cloth and prick skin. Dull sounds of movement scuff against my ears, as a hand hovers into view and leaves behind a sweating mug. The other patrons slump over in their own seats, mute; obeying the emotional dictates of the weather. Pebbles on sheet metal, the water pounds down upon the roof without mercy.
Yes, outside it is raining...and I can almost see us there, dancing in it. Just shadows in the rain, as heaven cries.
But I, I simply...smile. Because that is what the rain is for. To make us laugh.
And I'm sorry it has taken me so long to remember.