Logan is sitting in the chair by the window, watching me pack. I wonder if he knows that I wish he werenít there, that itís killing me to see him like this. He probably does. I wonder if thatís why heís here, if he's doing what he can to not make this any easier for me. He probably is.
I told him this morning. It took a while for it to sink in, what I was really saying.
And then he just got up and walked away.
I heard him, out in the woods.
He looks awful. Pale, haggard. Worse than Iíve ever seen him. I hate knowing that Iím the cause of it.
When our relationship changed to a romantic one all those years ago, everyone was concerned for me. Worried that Logan would break my heart.
No one was worried about him.
ďIs this how you felt? All those times when I left?Ē His voice is scratchy. I wonder if he howled until his voice broke. Heís getting his first taste of what itís like to be the one staying behind.
I shake my head. Iím not sure I can speak without crying.
He looks relieved to hear that. Even now, he can't stand the thought of hurting me.
But I donít take any pleasure in this, I don't feel like Iím repaying him for the hurt. I donít feel like Iím getting my revenge on him for his forays away from the mansion.
For a second I'm angry at him, for reacting this way. For daring to show the things I was afraid to show in those early years. It was always the stiff upper lip for Marie. Back then, I was afraid that if I cried and protested, he would never come back. I needed him in my life so badly. I always did. I still do.
I thought it would be worse, watching him leave, after we became lovers. But it wasn't. It was easier. Because I knew he loved me. He touched me and let me see for myself just how deeply, and never again would I doubt him.
He doesn't understand that it's my confidence in his love for me that allows me to go. Maybe he will, later, when he's past the shock. Either way, I'll tell him, someday. Now he would just write it off as hollow words of comfort, and I don't want that.
My suitcase is almost full. Gloves. Scarves. Zip it all up.
I walk over to him, stand in front of him. He pulls me down into his lap and buries his face in my neck. Holding on so tight. So tight. But he canít hold on tight enough to make me stay.
For a second, I realize that Iím crazy to leave. He is everything I ever wanted, the only man Iíve ever loved. I would do anything for him.
Anything but stay.
ďPlease donít go.Ē Itís barely a whisper, buried under the plaintive sound of desperation. The fact that he even asks is nearly enough to break me.
Iím selfish and cruel and I hate myself.
If I lose him for good because of this, a thought that brings me close to panic, itíll be no less than I deserve.
And yet. ďI canít.Ē
He starts to cry then, horrible tight sobs that Iíll have nightmares about for months. A sound Iíve never heard before, and hope to never hear again.
ďIím sorry. Iím sorry. Iím sorry.Ē Itís all I can say, and it means nothing. At least not to him.
Iíve seen the world. Missions with the X-Men, a road trip with Jubes and Kitty the summer after we finished high school. And weíve traveled so many places, Logan and I, starting the first summer after we met. Camping trips, expensive hotels. First as friends, then as lovers. Those were some of the best times of my life, and I loved every minute of it.
Iíve never really done anything on my own. And the truth is that as long as that is the case, Iíll always feel like a child next to him. And I can't be a child anymore.
When the thought came to me, that I had to do this and do it now, I tried to think of another way. We could take a trip together. I could go away for a week or two by myself. I could. . .I couldn't. It wasn't the same. It had to be just me, and it had to be open-ended. It had to be on my own terms.
This isn't a vacation.
This is my life.
This is my last chance.
Iíve wondered sometimes how much of this wanderlust is me and how much is Logan. God knows Iíve absorbed enough of him over the years. Healing touches, accidental touches, loving touches when he wanted me to feel what he felt, when he couldnít tell me with words. My skin is slow to react to him now, a fact that makes both of us more careful about the accidental touches, makes the intended ones more rare.
Unspoken is the thought that itís possible that my skin might stop reacting to him entirely one day. And as much as the prospect of being able to touch me thrills him, giving up the ability to heal me terrifies him. So we donít talk about it, as if talking about being able to finally touch each other will lead to thinking about it, which will lead to temptation and a crumbling of resolve. Perhaps, eventually, to accidental touches that arenít accidental at all, until I really can touch him for as long as I want.
Until he can't heal me anymore.
And now, more than ever, I need to be healed. I need to live. There is so much waiting.
He takes my face in his gloved hands and presses his lips to mine. Softly, but insistently. Snaking his tongue into my mouth to touch mine. The connection begins to open up, sluggish at first. Just a tiny vibration where our mouths meet. His hands hold my face firmly and his mouth presses into mine harder and I know that he is doing this on purpose, wants me to feel everything that is inside him.
And as much as I donít want to know, I let him.
He pours into me, slowly, like a cold river. It's awful. I sob against mouth, cling to his wrists, but he doesnít stop and I don't try to pull away. He needs this. Needs me to see. Needs me to feel.
He's so afraid.
Somewhere in his mind he knows that there is great joy ahead of us, after. But this hits too close to home, speaks to his greatest fearólosing me. And he can't be rational about it, not right now. This is the thing of his nightmares, and he can't look at it any other way.
He knows that this is not anything like his jaunts. He knows that this is so much more to me. We both know that I'll be different when I come back. Only I know just how much. If he knew, he'd never let me leave.
And that's why I have to go now. Right now.
Heíd lobbied for one more night, knowing that if I gave him half a chance, he could change my mind.
I resisted for the same reason.
I know there is no turning back. After Iíd put my cards on the table, there was no choice but the door. If I change my mind now, it will be worse. The knowledge that I stayed because he asked me to will always be there between us, and will eventually drive us apart. He will know that too, once he has a chance to think about it. He'll understand that to not go would be a death sentence for us.
And we can't be apart. We're not meant to be apart. I am bound to him forever, and he to me.
What Iím doing is right.
I can almost tell myself that without laughing.
I sit with him until he recovers, which is mere minutes. The longest minutes of my life. I wonder how it is they race by so quickly.
He clings to me, face pillowed on my breasts, arms wrapped tight. He is shaking. From the drain, I tell myself. From the drain. I kiss his hair. ďI have to go.Ē I mean that in every sense of the word.
ďI know.Ē So does he.
I don't tell him I'll call. I don't tell him I'll write. I do tell him this: "Take care of yourself. I need you." When I get back, he'll understand how much.
I'll be back soon, I know it. I won't be able to stay away. There are too many things I'll want to share with him.
He doesn't look at me as I leave our room. He stares out the window, at a day full of warmth and sunshine. Summer's last gift.
But not her only gift.
It's hard to step across the threshold, into a new life. I don't close the door behind me, because that would be too much, and I'm superstitious. This is not about closed doors. This is about opening my arms to all that is ahead of me, both good and bad. Anger and laughter and disappointment and the deepest love I'll ever know in my lifetime. I want to live every minute of it.
It's going to be amazing, for the both of us.
For the three of us.