I turned my head and Sam threw it all into the fire. Three in the morning, pitch-dark sky, bone-chill wind, unread words on pages I didn't even unfold. He dug until he found everything that remained (things I had no energy to look for because every time I did it felt like someone was standing on my chest, keeping me from breathing, proper) and then he burned it all. Loch lit the fire, Ben took up sentry duty, throwing his arms wide or taking a step to block me every time I moved.
I used that fire to warm my bones and I refused to give the momentum any weight at all. I refused to acknowledge this big thing, the fact that every time I walked in on him ostensibly writing a sermon over the course of eighteen months, that he was living a lie and writing me a goodbye letter instead, which is why this fire tonight burns so large, so brightly.
So many letters I'll never read. So many words, up in smoke. Ideas sparked and dead in the ashes. Like Jake. It serves no purpose to read his words any more. I know what it was. I know what he could and couldn't do. It still amazes me to think about how he wasn't strong in the end, something he raked Ben through fire for, because he was afraid the mirror would show his own face instead of Ben's.
Lochlan, bless his heart, hasn't said a word. The tears rolled down my face and he took his entire flannel-covered forearm and wiped my face and simply turned me back to Sam to watch the flames until they died too. Like Jake. Like the letters I will never know, or the man I didn't get to grow old with because I was tough and he was a goddamned chickenshit.
Be angry, Sam says. This is good.
What is? Memory Rage? The only person I can take it out on isn't here anymore. How is this good?