Post 5×07 episode (Holly’s voice)
It was my fault. I knew I should have sent someone else to deliver the thumb. I tried for so many weeks to stay away and not think of her, not remember the lines of her lips, the promise of her eyes. I gave up on us. She wouldn’t reply to my phone calls, my emails or my messages. I even went to her home and waited in the car outside for hours the next morning after our fight at The Penny, just so I could apologise for Lisa’s comment and explain myself. Of course I was having fun! We both knew it wasn’t “just fun”, though. Then I saw her come out with Dov, on her way to Fifteen for her morning shift, and talked myself out of it. Oblivious to my presence, she was smiling whilst she got in his car, lunging her sports bag over her shoulder. I am a grown up woman. Dr Holly Stewart doesn’t need this shit. I don’t need to act like a lovesick high schooler whenever Gail Peck waves her eyelashes in my general direction. I can’t. I won’t. After a few months, I agreed to go on dates. I even did an interview through Skype for a dream job in San Francisco, thinking that if nothing else worked perhaps the distance might cure the pain.
Her snowy skin, her crystalline eyes, her stubborn cowlick… She’s got this crazy quality about her, I had almost forgotten until I saw her again today in my lab: she is hard and soft at the same time. She could be the rain in a tropical storm and a peaceful lake, all inside five minutes. Walls which were built by years of keeping herself safe, brick by brick, a castle made of hurt and past grievances, defended by a layer of sneer and witty one-liners. You cannot begin to imagine how vulnerable and honest she is inside the castle walls, when she lifts the drawbridge, how strong and sturdy, how true and kind… And at times she let me in, like in a secret society of two, and it was precious and marvellous like that night in my bathroom. I could see right through to her soul. In Newfoundland, where my grandmother had a house when I was a little girl, there are winter days so crisp and sunny, bitingly cold but full of clear skies reflecting on the snow and you could see for miles. Gail was like a winter day of my childhood. You were able to just breathe in the cold, to allow your lungs to explode with it and feel alive. I had almost forgotten until today. At least, I had tried really hard to forget her, to keep a routine which didn’t involve wondering what she would be doing, which lips she might be kissing if not mine, which arms might be wrapping her up to keep her safe. She’s right, she is a brat, but also so much more… And such a beautiful brat! My beautiful Gail.
She is not the only one who feels she could never be enough. I had almost managed to stay away, as she seemed to have been doing her best to avoid me. All those times I wanted to know what how she might be spending Friday night, whether she fancied coming over for Chinese and Hawaii Five-0. My friends set me up with a very nice lawyer working for the Public Prosecution Service, gorgeous, uncomplicated, with a flair for tasty spaghetti Bolognese and who ran half marathons for charity. She was also blond with short curly hair, cute as a button. I had managed a whole two weeks of regular dating and getting to know each other without spending every shared moment comparing her with Gail. At the same time, I was well aware that she was not Gail. How could she be? There is none like Gail. There will never be in the history of humanity anyone like her. And yet she made me so mad. How easy it had been for her to just leave that night, without a backward glance, without giving me the time to put into words what she meant to me. Is it even possible to express out loud how it feels to be Icarus flying too close to the sun?
“I don’t want to end up a sad sorry woman who threw away the most wonderful person she’s ever met.”
So I walked away from her because I have my pride to consider, because I am a grown up professional who knows better. “She is only going to cause you pain”, I told myself, “she will rip your heart out again and eat you alive”. I wrapped my arms around myself, breathed in deeply and used all my remaining strength to not look back, to leave her in that corridor knowing that she was crystalline water again, open and vulnerable to the river bank rocks, negotiating the sinuous path to the sea. Oh how I wanted to caress her cheeks! All I craved was to thumb her lips to stop her from apologising, to hold her hand. What use is to be alive if I she won’t let me love her, I kept thinking whilst drinking more and more wine at Christine’s. Christine, the lawyer, guessed I had seen my ex that night.
“Holly, I think you are great, honestly, but I have been there and done that. You are so not over her, all you can talk about it’s how you are, but the lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
You cannot fault a woman’s insight when she quotes Shakespeare and procures red wine and goat cheese for a candlelit dinner. “Talk to her, Holly”. She said whilst she walked me out of her house, closing the front door softly behind me. Gail, how much I really just wanted to find her and tell her it was going to be all right. To kiss her, to embrace her, to protect her from herself. I have a sacred duty and it will take everything I have, I know that now. What the hell am I going to do? I will have to get my best ice climbing boots and try again. I have no more choice in the matter, when it comes to Gail. I ought to get the ropes ready to scale those walls, even if it’s the last thing I do. I fell asleep alone in my bed dreaming up scenarios to see her tomorrow. My heart leapt at the prospect of Gail, at the sound of her voice.