This is a bit of a scene from when Maggie and Clay finally see each other again. I can't say what brings them back together (though you may be able to guess). I just love writing their love story. It's so real and so raw and it really takes a lot out of me, but it's consuming.
This sadness was painfully familiar. The silent, open mouthed suffering was something I had felt entirely too much of in my life. The barely controllable urge to purge my grief with the slice of a razor was overwhelming. I could almost hear the darkness whisper in my ear, a taunting tease of potential relief. I knew this was the risk of coming back here. I knew that it resurrected a thousand instincts to hurt, to maim and to destroy everything inside of me. Everything that I had worked so hard to rebuild.
Leaving the Center was like leaving a warm and safe cocoon and being thrown headfirst into complete and utter chaos. From the moment my plane touched down in Virginia I struggled to remember that I was in control of these traitorous feelings. That it was my choice to cope in a healthier way.
But returning to Davidson, particularly under these circumstances, was proving a true test of my new found resolve. The meds helped. The stuff I had learned in therapy rattled around in my head, reminding me to breathe. To re frame. To talk myself off of the cliff I was already in danger of toppling over.
But Ruby needed me. Which made my anxiety even harder to rein in. Because I had always been the needy one. The truth of it was that I had needed Ruby. Maggie. Lisa. Even as I had denied needing anyone.
And now I was the one being leaned on and I wasn't so sure I could handle the pressure. I was brittle and raw and I knew that Dr. Todd's concerns about me coming back here were legitimate ones....
I made it through the day. Barely. Even the weather was in mourning; a soft rain falling as I made my way into the church. Everything felt dark. I focused on my breathing even as my guts knotted up inside of me.
It was important I found my strength. That I pull my shit together and be the man who could support someone else and not just leach it. Damn it, I could do this!
I was engaged in this crazy internal dialogue. Jumping back and forth between giving myself a perky little pep talk and mentally screaming at myself to man up. I was totally lost in it, trying to get up the nerve to go to the front of the church and sit with Ruby in the pew where she sat sobbing.
Her grief was almost too much to bare but I needed to get over that. It wasn't fair to leave her alone. Not now. Not when she never abandoned me when I needed her. But there was that part of me that fought for self preservation and I knew this whole scene had the makings of my own personal disaster.
I was very close to running out the side door and never looking back. Drive to the airport, jump on the first available plane and get myself the hell out of Virginia.
I had almost talked myself into it when I felt a stirring in the air. I swear my body started to hum and I just knew she was there.
And just like that the fuzzy black faded away and everything clicked into place. My heart thudded into over drive and my palms started to sweat so I shoved them into the pockets of my gray slacks.
Of course she came. I knew she'd be there. And though I tried not to allow myself the hope of seeing her, I couldn't deny that I had longed for it all the same.
And here she was, looking the same only better. Her dark hair was pulled back in a low ponytail. She wore a dark green wool coat over a black dress. She looked beautiful and perfect and the embodiment of everything I had always craved.
She walked into the church, stopping to talk to an older woman I recognized as one of the local shop owners here in Davidson. I knew I should go and find Ruby. But I couldn't make myself move. I stood there, rooted to the spot, not sure if I wanted Maggie to see me or not, even as I screamed at her in my head to look at me. Please.
As much as I missed her and dreamed of this moment, I was scared of it. I had pushed her away. I had put the necessary distance between us. I had done it for her. Because I hadn't wanted her to get sucked into my crazy life anymore than she already had been.
But God I loved her. She was the piece I had been missing for the last three and a half months. She was everything I wanted in my life but wasn't sure I deserved. And this was why I wasn't good for her. My feelings about Maggie May Young were too intense, too consuming and they always threatened to swallow me whole.
But then her eyes lifted and met mine and everything else disappeared. Her eyes were bright and I could see the way her chest started to rise and fall more rapidly. Before I realized what I was doing, I was moving toward her at the same instant that she began to make her own journey down the aisle of the church.
It was like this every time we were together. Our bodies orbited around each other as if pulled by an invisible force that we had no control over.
Fuck me, I wanted this. And I wanted to run from it. I wanted to pull her in and never let go. And I wanted to push her away.
Two minutes. That's all it took for my head to short circuit.
Maggie stopped five feet away and we stood there, staring at each other. I didn't know what to say. What worked as appropriate chit chat when you saw the love of your life again after breaking her heart? And at a funeral no less.
I could see she was struggling as much as I was. And I hated that. Her face was flushed and I could see her pulse throbbing in her neck. I wanted to taste the skin there and feel her heart beat beneath my lips.
So instead I went for the anti-climatic.
“Hi.” I said softly.