Topic #18; Regret
Her voice that day echoes in my head even now, years later. I’d tried to rationalize moving on for so long that eventually I believed that I had. The proof was there in the charred remains of her apartment, it was there in the ashes mixing with ocean salt. In the empty urn that was practically a metaphor for what was going on inside of me since the moment I got the call. She was dead. (but she wasn’t)
For a while after Sydney died all I did was grieve. I drowned my sorrows and my life in the crisp burning sensation of Jack Daniels sliding my throat. I drank myself numb for months, everyone who cared about me was worried for my health and my sanity. It was like a constant stream of words, all saying the same thing, blending together in my head. “Move on Michael.” And “Sydney would kick your ass if she saw you like this,” that was more Weiss than anyone else. Eventually I realized they were right, I was killing myself with grief.
I didn’t lie to her that day; moving on from her death was something I couldn’t regret. Moving on saved my life. I gave up on the hope that, despite the evidence, she was alive somewhere. I couldn’t keep that hope alive; I didn’t think I could survive false hope. Finding a lead and then having it fall through, over and over again. It was easier to give up than to fall prey to that false hope. I was so afraid to fall back into the pattern of self destruction – afraid that I’d kill myself in the end.
Lauren was just a distraction at first. Someone who put up with me and my grief. She was kind and beautiful and despite everything she didn’t seem threaten by the woman I’d lost. The time leading up to the wedding is a blur now, I don’t know if that’s because I’ve gone through my memories to see how I could have missed her true attentions and her true nature. Now I can barely remember why I decided to propose. It occurred to me that maybe I was put through conditioning and then I realized I was just trying to justify my actions, justify giving up. I do remember how I proposed, no vacation anywhere, no zoo, just a nice dinner at her parents house where I got down on one knee and said something charming.
I always wondered if I was doing the right thing, if I could ever look at Lauren and stop wishing she was Sydney. In my mind I thought, “She would want me to be happy.” I took vows and I loved my wife with all of my heart that hadn’t died with Sydney – which honestly wasn’t a lot. I knew it wasn’t fair but I had been upfront with Lauren from the beginning. I look back now and wonder if she knew Sydney was alive from the beginning and then I push the thoughts away.
I got the call, Kendall telling me I needed to get on a plane and go to Hong Kong. Her name from his lips and my world was turned upside down. I sat on a plane for got knows how many hours and opened that door to the safe house and I knew. I had given up.
Finding out about Lauren and knowing I’d been used and betrayed was one of the most horrible feelings in my life. I’d let it happen. Lost so much time, pride and dignity because I’d just given up on the one thing that had really mattered. Sydney Bristow was the love of my life.
Muse: Michael Vaughn
Word Count: 617