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  • Erin Brown

PROSE | Original Piece #28


And then there I was. All alone, like some great hands had snatched you up from the earth, never to be seen or known again in the tangible, beautiful, human ways always lost to us when the things we love turn into shadows. I looked down, watching my shocked fingers ripple like a white fringe beneath the dark cuff of my coat as the last warmth of your touch faded from them. So soon. How long had it been? A second? A day? But I knew well enough in that moment how many millennia now stood, in all likelihood, between us as creatures of the universe; even if you had been gone a less than a minute, a thousand generations of a million races could have passed you by in little more than a blink of your bright, curious eyes by now. While I stood there, aging one, slow, cruel second at a time. Such is the burden of a Time Lord: gifted with a dozen lifetimes, but never given a chance to live even one of them as you wish. I sniffed the cold air. It burned into my body like a deep and invisible brand, breath after hatefully necessary breath; it was no wonder they should turn to smoke in the atmosphere as I expelled them. Into a world where I now was and you were not. My burden. And all I could think was how much I hated that we had been so differently created in but one way. You, Doctor...you have two hearts. If one broke, decided it did not want to go on but instead to curl in over its broken self and disappear, the other one would keep going wouldn't it? Keep you alive and functioning so that you could go on saving the universe, averting its destruction over and over again with your mad, brilliant, beautiful mind, one catastrophe at a time? Of course it would. It makes you...doubly strong. I cannot think about it being the opposite. That it makes you doubly breakable. I mean...you're the Doctor. You can't break. Could you ever need anyone as much as everyone needs you? Like I...like I...I need to stop this. The Doctor. The Doctor. You're not my Doctor. I need to stop writing and thinking like this as though it will change anything. All I know is...is that my one, idiotic heart splintered for you, there in that place where we parted. And you would have understood because you knew. What it is to have to hang on just long enough to what you love but must leave, because you know that it's the only thing that will give you the absolute strength you require in order to let it go. A year has passed - a thin but depthless chasm in our parallel fabrics of time - and it's snowing again. Like the day we met, when you nearly squashed me with your giant magical phone box. Like the day we parted and you told me that you and I were like a timeless, grand tune: so bloody marvellous that not even a silly little thing like time could ever stop it from being somehow, somewhere, whistled or in your case, sung very badly. Something born to be heard. But it's not silly. It's strange. I keep expecting there to be a moment where I realise suddenly that I am not clinging to anymore to the last, bright seconds of us when a happy ending to our story seemed possible. To a perfect, fictitious place where there is no staying, or going, or leaving the ones you love behind. Just us and your time machine that defies both quantum physics and all notions of quintessential interior decoration. And then somewhere, a clock ticks, marking an hour, measuring a day, and I realise that that moment will never ever come. As long as there's time, there's you. And you are never what I expect.

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