"Damn it, where the hell is that textbook?" the tall, dark haired man swore as he pawed through the pile of books on the living room floor of his apartment, frustration radiating from his wiry, sweater-and-jean-clad body with every move. "I could've sworn I put it — "
His eyes caught sight of a battered blue spiral-bound notebook, and he halted his tirade. Sitting back on his haunches, he picked up the notebook and opened the cover to find the blue-inked, neatly penned pages within.
"Oh, my darling Alexa," he whispered, recognizing the handwriting instantly. Though he knew the pain hadn't faded, and reading the journal would only bring the year-old grief to the forefront of his consciousness, he couldn't stop himself.
He changed my life.
As cliché as that sounds, I still can't believe I've gone nearly everywhere I've ever wanted to go, and it's only been four months. I feel like I'm dreaming. It's incredible to me to think that just a short time ago I was working in a tavern in Seacouver, glad that Joe extended medical benefits to his part-time employees, and thinking that I was going to die before I ever went anywhere. Then Adam showed up in the bar one afternoon.
I thought he was cute, until he spoke. He sounded so jaded about the places I'd only seen on the Travel Channel on cable TV, and as much as I found myself attracted to him, I've never been one for cynics. But he was persistent, and against my better judgment, I agreed to a date. We were supposed to meet at Joe's after my shift was over, but I chickened out and called in sick. Adam showed up at my house anyway.
I can't imagine my life now without him. I wish I'd known him sooner, so there'd be more time to spend together, instead of this crazy living-out-of-a-suitcase life we've been leading. I try not to waste too much time on regrets; God knows I don't have much to spare, but it's hard not to want Adam's love in my life as long as possible. He makes me laugh and feel so alive that I can't help but love him.
There are depths of understanding in him that make me wonder what he's lived through to make him so compassionate. Sometimes I feel like I'm peeling an onion, layer by layer; the more I'm with him, the more complex he becomes to me. He knows so much about ancient history and yet he's almost completely ignorant of popular culture. He can be so patient with me when I'm not feeling well and yet he can't stand waiting in an airport.
I don't know how long I'll be able to keep this journal going, but I thought I'd at least try and put down on paper all that's happened to me. Maybe we'll get lucky and I'll be old woman, reading about the days I went on a whirlwind tour of the world because I thought I was dying of cancer. Yeah, right.
The last doctor we saw wasn't very encouraging about my prognosis, and wanted me to try an experimental treatment, but I refused. I would rather be traveling the world with Adam than stuck in some hospital with needles in my arms and no way of seeing a sunset on the Nile, no way of tasting exotic foods with names I can't pronounce, no way of hearing people chatter in languages I need Adam to translate. It doesn't matter to me anymore that I'm dying; I've been dying for over a year now. The last four months have been more than any woman has a right to expect.
I thought it would be safer if I just never took the chance on living out my dreams. I didn't have the money for one, and for another, what did it matter? Who knew that I wanted to see Paris, Rome, and Venice? It wasn't as if I had anyone to care about me, besides Joe, and as good of a friend he was to me, he was still my employer. I wasn't close to the other waitresses, and I didn't really want to be. Caring about other people took too much energy, and there were some days that I needed all I could get.
Adam really has taught me how to live. He's fiercely determined to show me as much as I can handle, though there are moments when I feel like I'm on a carousel spinning wildly. I can't possibly digest everything I'm feeling, everything I'm experiencing, everything I'm living. Still, I find myself wanting more, like a child with Halloween candy, and Adam indulges me. I know I'm being spoiled rotten, but he tells me not to worry, that I'm worth it. I find myself wanting to argue with him, but then he kisses me or makes me laugh and I forget what it was that irritated me.
I can't even begin to thank him for all he's given me. How does one say thank you to someone who told you that the alternative to being without you, even for as short of a time as I have, was unthinkable? Who tells you he's never loved anyone quite the way he loves you, and then goes and proves it to you with every word, every deed.. I don't know what my death will do to him, and I worry about that sometimes. He has, as my grandmother would say, an old soul.but even old souls feel pain, and he loves me as completely as I do him. If it was me watching him die, bit by bit, I don't know how I could stand it, knowing that with every passing day, he'd grow a little bit weaker, a little bit less enthusiastic about ancient civilizations and monuments to empires long gone to dust.
I only know that I love him, and that is all I have to give. I don't have a generous trust fund like Adam does, and right now, everything I own is either in a suitcase or in Adam's apartment in Seacouver. I've already told him that he's welcome to do whatever he likes with my stuff when I'm dead; I sure as hell won't care then.
I've never lived in the moment, until Adam. Now I can't imagine living any other way. He calls it carpe diem, but I don't care what it's called. I am alive, for as long as God lets me be, and I am loved and love a man who makes me feel like time is standing still for me.
— — — — — — — -
We are in Athens, and I grow weaker with every day. I know my time is near. On the steps of the Parthenon, he proposed to me. I said yes. I've never been married before, and, at this rate, it's my only chance.
I just didn't expect to be marrying someone with such a long life span. It's not fair. I'm but a flicker in his existence, but he so clearly loves me. Am I a fool to grab onto what happiness I have left? Adam — I can't think of him with any other name, though I know what his true name is — would say not. I've trusted my heart this long, what's one more day, when I have so few left? I love him.
A single tear escaped and dropped onto the pages of the handwritten journal. "Oh, Alexa, I haven't forgotten you," the reader of the journal whispered. "I'll always love you and I'll never forget you."
Disclaimer and Notes: Inspired by Diamond Rio's song, "You're Gone". This was the second fanfic I'd ever written; hope you like it.
Thanks to my beta-readers Dana Woods and Amand-r for their help with this.