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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 17, Title: Hold onto this lullaby

Posted on 2017.05.07 at 22:21
Tags: ,
Love is always enough.

It’s Elle’s mantra, sitting in their tiny, cold flat. Broke and hungry. She snaps sometimes. Terry snaps sometimes. Words meted out harsh in compromises. They don’t go out, there’s no money. And the cupboards are filled with non-perishables.

But as stressed as Elle is, lying in bed with Terry on a warm summer morning; she knows she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Her mantra sits in her heart like certainty, like a kernel of divine truth.

*
But then The War starts and Terry is drafted.

The days slide into weeks and the weeks drag on into months. Elle sits alone, lonely, thinking of him, praying for him. She struggles through day after day with a weight against her chest.

She worries the chain of the necklace he gave her. And kisses her mantra into the pendant. It’s still as true, even if it’s more painful.    

*

Terry comes home different. But Elle knows it’s still her Terry underneath it all.

He has a nightmare and she ends up with a bruised cheek. He’s horrified. She’s horrified. He’s still crying from the nightmare. He’s still crying from the weight of it all.

She doesn’t know what to do. She moves to him. But he pulls away, he doesn’t want to hurt her again, and her heart hurts for him. She watches him sleep, sees his fingers reach out for her, desperate. And she takes them in her own, holds him. She fears she can’t reach him.

The mantra feels shallow now. She knows love can’t fix things, but she still hopes it can hold them together. She thinks love is enough, because it has to be.

*

They try to save up for therapy, but they don’t have enough.

Terry sleeps on the couch. He’s scared of hurting her. And she’s ashamed that she’s scared too.

And then the flashbacks come during the day. He’s somewhere else, someone else. He grips her wrist too hard, urgent.

The ring around her wrist is purple and he stares at it, eyes hard as flint. Tells her he should leave.

She’s not sure whether she agrees or disagrees. Tells him no anyway.

*

He moves too quickly. She flinches. Hurt rises through the both of them, frozen in that instant.

There’s therapy and medication. It doesn’t help. He seems to be getting worse.

Elle herself feels hollowed out: with sadness and guilt and this stalwart inadequacy. She doesn’t know what to do.

They're both breaking each other.


She thinks she doesn’t know how long she can do this. She thinks there’s no way she can leave him, not like this. She thinks she still loves him.

*

Time stretches on and stretches them in turn.

They sit at their small rickety table, crying. Whispering softly into the dead night. They’ve both decided it’s for the best: this is the end.

Love’s always enough. Until it isn’t.

Comments:


dmousey
dmousey at 2017-05-08 00:30 (UTC) (Link)
This is so sad, made sadder by the fact that it is reality for many people. Hugs and peace~~~
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-05-08 17:23 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, yeah it is a sad reality.
fodschwazzle
fodschwazzle at 2017-05-08 04:14 (UTC) (Link)
This definitely smacks of the truth. That last scene is more than a little haunting, for me in particular having divorced and made similar choices. Well done.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-05-08 17:23 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, sorry if it brought up bad memories *hugs*
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre
bleodswean at 2017-05-08 14:44 (UTC) (Link)
Well captured! A sad but realistic portrayal of how love can sometimes not be enough.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-05-08 17:24 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it realistic, sometimes the saddest things are the real ones
i_17bingo
i_17bingo at 2017-05-08 15:42 (UTC) (Link)
This is really heartbreaking. And it feels so real.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-05-08 17:24 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it real.
rayaso
rayaso at 2017-05-09 21:03 (UTC) (Link)
You captured this so well, and I especially liked the last sentence. You packed a lot into so few words, taking Elle and Terry through the whole arc of their life together. Very well done!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-05-10 16:54 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked that last line :)
Murielle
murielle at 2017-05-10 05:56 (UTC) (Link)
This is just heartbreaking. And the truth of it raises ghosts of the past. They're not my ghosts, but ghosts of cousins acquaintances who went to Vietnam. They brought so much back with them, PTSD was just one thing, but it was a big thing.

You write so beautifully about this terrible consequence of war.

Brava!

Edited at 2017-05-10 05:58 am (UTC)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-05-10 16:58 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :). It is a sad reality of war.
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"
roina_arwen at 2017-05-10 12:01 (UTC) (Link)
Strongly written and told in a very bare-bones manner which adds to the story.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-05-10 16:59 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the way I told it :)
Teo Says
eternal_ot at 2017-05-11 13:50 (UTC) (Link)
This was raw, honest, brutal and true. Well done!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-05-11 17:25 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for the lovely compliment :)
kschlotwrites
kschlotwrites at 2017-05-11 15:20 (UTC) (Link)

Beautiful, yet sad. I wonder if it really is the end for these two.

swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-05-11 17:27 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it beautiful :). Ah, well what happens afterwards is anyone's guess.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
halfshellvenus at 2017-05-11 17:19 (UTC) (Link)
but she still hopes it can hold them together.
This is such a sad piece, but so much the reality for too many people. You have to hope and keep trying for as long as you can, until there's no hope left.

I'm just sorry it ended this way for both of them. And for him, it's just and end to the relationship. The rest of the hell still goes on. :(
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-05-11 17:31 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :).

Yeah, the reality of it is a sad thing.
alycewilson
alycewilson at 2017-05-12 01:36 (UTC) (Link)
So sad, with a ring of truth to it. I thought that something like this was the reason my husband's grandparents divorced, because they broke up five years after he served in World War II. But his aunt just told me that they broke up because he cheated on her. Also, he apparently was a drinker. I have to worry how much of that behavior, though, was him self-medicating for PTSD.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-05-12 17:36 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.

It's sad how much PTSD can destroy lives.
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