clandestineind: (Default)
clandestineind ([personal profile] clandestineind) wrote2011-03-18 04:35 am
Entry tags:

The Saturdays That Never Came

Title: The Saturdays That Never Came
Rating: PG 13
Pairing: None.
Summary: Some say that every time there is a decision made, the world splits into pieces, following each individual path the decision leads down. Each conscious or unconscious decision is a hairline fracture that becomes a split, a world, a reality.
Warning: Character death.
A/N: Who hasn't thought of this what if at least once? 
Word Count: 1454

What if. It’s a troublesome phrase that brings up a multitude of should have happened, could have happened and never will happen. There are many people that consider it and debate over it and worry about it.

Some say that every time there is a decision made, the world splits into pieces, following each individual path the decision leads down. Each conscious or unconscious decision is a hairline fracture that becomes a split, a world, a reality.

If you travelled down one and not the other, you would not be aware of it, only that you chose to go left instead of right. You chose to mail the letter today instead of tomorrow. You smiled at a different person on the street. If you peeked over the boundary that cannot be breached, you’d see the answers to every what if your heart ever could have desired. It is a scary thought. How different could it be? Would it have been better? Or worse?

So we will see a situation, perhaps an entirely familiar sounding one. It’s much the same as you might know it.

In one moment, Patrick can choose to answer his incessantly buzzing phone. He can answer it and hear the static-y laboured breathing and the soft apology, and he can panic and rush to find Pete. His bassist, his best friend. He can find him in that parking lot, he can get him to hospital and the world is just as we recognise it today, or thereabouts.

But maybe let’s take another route. Let’s look at another option, because Patrick doesn’t want to pick up his phone. He’s not in the mood. He’s busy. Patrick ignores his phone, irritated and distracted. He carries on tidying up his living room and forgets the call he’s missed. Pete leaves him a message, a rush of whispers and hoarse apologies and confused mumbling, then passes out in the front seat of his car. There are no feet running over the pavement to wrench open his car door. There is no sobbing friend, family, mother, friend, lover on the phone, sobbing and begging for an ambulance. There is only this boy-man passed out, his timer ticking to its close and an empty pill bottle that tumbles from his slack hand to settle by his feet.

Patrick is seated in his kitchen, idly nursing a cup of coffee when his phone starts to ring again. It’s his voicemail. He picks up and holds it half paying attention to his ear, leaning on his elbow, listening as the automated message rattles off. He recognises the number and smiles, a little tired, a little fond. He knows the number by heart. It’s Pete.

As the message starts to play, the colour drains from his face and his grip slackens on the mug of coffee, shock and fear penetrating him with a sick shuddering cold grip, snaking tight icy fingers around his heart. He feels sick. He almost falls over in his sudden rush to get off the counter seat, knocking his coffee over and letting the liquid drip down the cupboards and onto the floor unheeded. He doesn’t care in the least.

He is frightened and frantc, calling Pete over and over and over. In this version of reality, he and any other who might have helped are far too late. His heart is in his throat and tears roll down over his cheeks. Deep down he knows he is too late.

He finds Pete eventually, but there is no faint colour in his face belying life that Patrick can glean hope from. There is no butterfly soft pulse when he touches fingers to his neck. He flinches back. There is only cold skin and it’s dark and cold and Patrick is completely at a loss.
He does call an ambulance. They pronounce him dead with the solemn eyes and tones of men who have done it before, too many times, pulling a cool sheet over his unmoving face. Patrick doesn’t want them to, he hates it. He wants to rip the sheet from their hands and demand they do something. He wants to demand they fix it. But it’s entirely his fault, if he had picked up his phone they would have had time, they would have.

Pete looks so very young and relaxed in death, like the younger man Patrick had first met, simply sleeping on the stretcher, easy sleepy grin ready if Patrick just chose to wake him. Patrick won’t wake him, he won’t, he’ll let him sleep, he looks unfettered by his usual worries, forehead smooth. He must be dreaming sweetly enough, Patrick will leave him to it, to sleep and be safe and happy. No need to be awake really.

He has to deal with the mess in this world, because, of course, Pete never opens his eyes, gripping Patrick’s hand feebly, drawing in shaky breaths and breathing half meant apologies to Patrick and his mom.

They bury him, his friends do. They bury him together. It is sombre and quiet, the whole affair. It is small too, those who loved him and knew him best. Those who adored him most whole-heartedly, faults and cracks and fissures and all are those who bid him goodbye. At the wake, they try to make merry in his honour, but the life of the party, any of their parties, is six feet down and they cannot muster the energy to pretend it is anything different that stalls the laughter before it can leave their mouths and halts every smile that dares to dream it could exist.

Patrick can’t seem to cry anymore. He’s run out of tears. He doesn’t sing either; he can’t, not without all of them together. Pete made him the singer, he got him to do it, built up his confidence and gave him these beautiful, sharp dangerous words that Patrick could build worlds with. He feels like Ariel, the mermaid in the kids’ film. Every time he tries to sing, it simply catches in his throat, no sound comes out. Pete stole his voice and took it to the grave. Selfish as ever he was over anything Patrick ever was or created with him.

Andy and Joe play around with their music a little, but neither seem to have the heart to carry on without him. Patrick’s guitar too has grown dusty and out of tune with misuse. Nobody has touched Pete’s basses. They won’t.

They never play again, not really. Patrick carries on producing music for others. Andy works on some album or other with some people that never goes far. They don’t really know what happens to Joe. He just disappears into a fragile obscurity one day; nobody quite knows where he is.

They carry on with their lives, of course they do, but none would say they were complete happy. Not any more.

There is a little band in Summerlin, Nevada, that never make it. They end up living boring and normal lives. One of them likes to sing in the shower, and hums whilst he works, voice like magic. One taps in perfect rhythm on his thigh when he is left to his thoughts. Another falls apart, misunderstood and oppressed under the rage of a father who loves the drink more.

There is a beautiful young woman, an actress, a singer, who never finds that special someone. She goes through strings of the wrong men and cannot quite put her finger on what each of them is missing, she can only say that they were not the right man. She wonders if they right man is out there, the one who will love her as his heaven his earth and his life and even more than all combined. He never comes. Neither does the child she dreams of when she sees people in the streets with their own, dreaming of a child with big beautiful eyes and curling blonde hair and a face she’s only seen when she sleeps.

There are so many people who have these big and beautiful dreams that watch them ground to dust under the rigour of the real world, no magic man to pour the secret elixir on them and whisper encouragement and support and promise castles in the sky if only they could dream bigger and bigger.

All of these people wonder ‘what if’? But their ‘what if ‘ with a heart of gold that beat too fast, dreams that ran away with him and a smile that promised you it would all work out, their wondrous and by chance what if. Their ‘what if’ is lying cold in his grave, soul dreaming of all the Saturdays that never came to be.