26 – No Place Like Home

Although the chaos and complications of Keppler’s sudden death disrupt the homecoming both of them have long been anticipating, in the end, Grissom and Sara find that the most important thing is there is no place like home.

Post episode 715, “Law of Gravity,” circa early February 2007.

*******

Soliloquy

Grissom

In some ways, I am not entirely surprised to find that when I finally put down my bags to pull out the keys to unlock the door to my condo, that my arrival has come considerably later — in terms of days now and not hours — than I had originally planned.

But as they say — The best laid plans…

Because while it seems that many things have seemed to change in my absence, some things, in this case the ones you really wished would change, have not.

Vegas is Vegas after all and Vegas never sleeps.

And while I do distinctly remember telling Warrick that I missed Las Vegas, that was before all hell inexplicably broke loose.

Vegas is Vegas after all.

Although somehow the thought that if I hurry through the shower I know I desperately need right now and head straight to bed and worry about unpacking until later, I might be able to squeeze a handful of hours of sleep in before Vegas — or more likely Ecklie — calls again, is little comfort. For I fear, or more precisely know, that sleep will be long in coming.

It isn’t so much the time and schedule changes or the strangeness that lies in the familiarity of being back home after being so long away. No, it is just life and having way too much to process all at once and in so short a time, that will likely keep me up.

I did not know Michael Keppler well, not at all really, as we only met once, briefly in passing and exchanged no more than a handful of words. Yet his death feels different from the loss of so many others.

Perhaps, it is because while I didn’t get a chance to know him, the rest of the team did and even in the relative shortness of a month, they built up professional bonds and friendships. Some it seems more so than others.

At this, I think of Catherine and have to wonder if I have failed yet again.

I know perfectly well what has been said about me behind my back all these years. That I care more for bugs and bodies than for people, for science than society, and in some ways, that is true. Bug and bodies are easier to deal with than living, breathing human beings and science brings with it a sort of reassuring surety and certainty that dealing with humanity does not.

And as much as I loath the administrative aspects of being shift supervisor, for last few hours and days at least, the impersonal duties of paperwork, reports and briefings seem to be far more easy to dispatch than dealing with the personal.

At least Lily and Lindsey are with Catherine now and know much better than I do how to soothe and comfort her.

Or perhaps that is just what I tell myself to keep from feeling guilty.

When the truth of it is that while she and I have known each other a long time, I often still find myself at a loss with Catherine, especially in times like these.

This time especially so. As I don’t quite recall ever seeing the look I found there in her eyes last night the moment the EMTs said that Keppler was gone. That look of absolute desperation and desire; the utter anguish and longing for that fact not to be true.

I’ve never quite known what to do when confronted with that look.

Because even in our line of work, most of the time we don’t arrive until after that moment has passed into something more like numb denial than anything else. We are not the ones there to have to bear witness to that the initial overwhelming look of absolute loss.

And while part of me wonders precisely what Catherine has lost, my thoughts rather selfishly turn more to myself. For I am struck, have been struck, since that moment I saw that look on her face, with how real the possibility, the one I never truly let myself face, of what it would mean to loose you like that — absolutely.

Keppler’s dead; Catherine came so close, too close, last night. I guess at some point all of us have and I think of Nick in that box and Jim and Greg laid up in hospital beds and you on the other side of the glass — and how powerless we really are. How powerless I was to prevent any of those things from happening and how powerless I still am and will continue to be in the days and weeks and years that are to come .

We’ve been lucky, too lucky perhaps.

For each of those times, it wasn’t too late. We got Nick out just in time. Jim and Greg recovered. You were able to get out.

It wasn’t too late.

And what too late would have meant with Nick or Jim or Greg is hard enough to stomach, but the thought of what that would mean when it came to you, I simply don’t possess the words for that feeling.

For I remember all to well that day I was on the other side of that glass and it could have so easily have been too late and then I would have never known the hours and days and almost years that we have come to share together since then. A whole another lifetime it seems, a whole new life.

These thoughts have made it harder to find the right key, harder to keep from fumbling to fit it once found into the lock, harder for me to gather up my things and step across that threshold.

But I know I need the shower and to crawl into my own bed and try, however in vain, to sleep and put these last few days aside for a few hours at least.

Vegas with all her hidden horrors will still be waiting for me when I wake.

But when I finally manage to stumble through the door and drop my keys noisily on the table, I find myself at once confronted by an unfamiliar and unexpected soft, stirring sort of sound that is soon replace by an almost buzzing and I sigh and close my eyes and shake my head and begin to worry that despite my best efforts and intentions, some of my roaches have gotten loose in my absence. And while Madagascar hissing cockroaches are harmless and in no way pestilential, I doubt my neighbors will see it that way and I don’t really want to risk their wrath right now.

As I listen further though, it strikes me that the hissing is a far different sort from the typical mating and aggression calls of roaches; it is almost more like a wheezy, nasally snoring sort of buzzing and I have to quickly smother a laugh when I realize the noise is not coming from any runaway insects, but from you.

For there you are curled up cat-like in one corner of the couch with a book propped open on your lap, seemingly very sound asleep or at least as sound asleep as one can be when they are snoring that resoundingly.

And you complain about my snoring.

Your name is halfway past my lips, before I catch myself. For I know you well enough to know that you have, as usual, probably been working those same sort of shifts I usually do, the ones that only ever seem to grow longer rather than shorter, and that you need your rest.

So I try to be as quiet as I can so as not disturb you as I slip off my shoes and pad towards the sofa.

Seeing you there now, it seems far longer than the almost five weeks since I last had the opportunity to watch you sleep and I am glad to see that this afternoon at least, you seem to be resting peacefully, untroubled by bad dreams or anxieties, relaxed and comfortable or as comfortable as one can be curled up on a couch.

As much as I do not want to wake you, I cannot resist the urge to brush that one strand of hair that always finds its way free from your ponytail back behind your ear and place a soft kiss on the top of your head.

You begin to stir. So no matter how further tempted I may be, I do not linger longer than the time it takes to carefully ease the book from your grasp and drape my jacket over you, for I know how much you hate waking up cold and February afternoons are not always the warmest, even here in Vegas. Thankfully, you only shift slightly, as if to snuggle deeper into the warmth.

Although I felt momentarily caught off guard at finding you here and slightly guilty that I forgot to call you in the midst of the paperwork and attempting to deal with Catherine, I have to say I am pleased to see you. For it while it seems that all the talk of laters and when I got back has seemed to escape my memory, it hasn’t yours.

At the same time, your presence here and now doesn’t seem that all unexpected. For you belong here.

You always have.

As I gather up my things and tip-toe down the stairs, I take a good look at this place I know I am fortunate to now call home.

I never really gave much thought to having a home of my own per se. Or at least what I suppose is conventionally considered to be a home.

For most of my life, indeed all of my adult life, home has merely meant four walls, a roof and a floor. That was what my last place was like really, just four walls, a roof and floor. A place to sleep when there was time, a place to work when sleep would not come and when work got to be too much, a place to hide.

Just four walls. White walls that I suppose could have been considered to be cold, clinical almost, merely functional to the point of sterility.

And I suppose, too, that for a long time that white-washed, sterile, solitary existence suited me.

For too long really.

From the moment I met you, you challenged that.

You were color and light and warmth and breath and life, real life.

So it seems fitting to find you here amongst the light and color and warmth.

I remember once when I told you I liked your apartment, that old studio of yours, the one you used to live in, because it was so warm and inviting in the afternoon, you said it was because of the paint and windows.

But it wasn’t that, nor is it that now. Now that I guess I have finally moved out of my dark and broody cave as you once called it. Nor is it because here the walls are richly painted and windows aren’t covered all the time, while the floors are.

No, it was then as it is now — you.

It was you, too, I suppose I have to both blame and thank for all of this, for wanting and then having more than just four walls and a roof and a floor.

Because of you, I wanted a home.

While you don’t live here full time (neither do I for that matter), I still think of this as being your home, too, mine and yours — ours. Whose precisely, it doesn’t really matter.

All I know is this is home.

Or perhaps it has just become so because you are here.

You, who more than the floors and walls and books and furniture and art, more than all the things that can be place and replaced — for you are the irreplaceable — are the one who makes this place finally feel like a real home.

I think I once tried to tell you that, but the words only seemed to get in the way as they always seem to do when I am with you.

Before I met you, I always thought of language as boundless, infinite, full of permutations and possibilities.

Then why is it that I have nothing to offer you but other people’s words?

Perhaps that best explains why the one letter I could write to you still sits unsent, safe within the pages of the The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare you gave me for Christmas.

Because while I meant it, every word of that letter, every thought and feeling, they were still someone else’s words — good words — great words even – profound — poetic — lasting, but they were not my own.

And while I still smile each time I open that volume and read in what I know is your best attempt at a legible hand the inscription there —

Gil – For all the times you are in want of words remember –

Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain” – Richard II

and “Talent borrows, genius steals” – Oscar Wilde

– Sara

it reminds me, too of all the years of things left unsaid or done and how even after all this time, it has become harder, rather than easier, to find the words when it comes to you. Or at least words that are wholly mine.

So they remain unsaid, but not unfelt, like so much when it comes to you.

I remember my last words before I left.

I’ll miss you.

How inadequate those words seemed even then and only managed to become  more so as the days passed.

I hope you knew that it was more than that — more than just those words — more than just me missing you.

But I did.

I missed you.

I missed you more than you can know, or I can say, or there are even words to convey.

Sara, I missed you.

*******

Colloquy

Sara

I must still be dreaming, because I do not remember coming to bed, nor do I recall hearing you come in, and yet, I find I am snug in bed with you beside me.

Although part of me wants to linger a little longer in the state of almost blissful nothingness that exists between wakefulness and dreaming, the warmth of you lulls me back into the present and your presence.

While it is not as if we get to sleep together all that often, I guess have nonetheless gotten used to sharing a bed with you on a reasonably regular basis.

Over the last few weeks that you’ve been gone, I’ve made a rather odd discovery. The sound of your snoring actually helps me fall asleep.

Not that I would ever tell you that. Your snoring is one of the few things I ever get to tease you about really.

I’ve missed it. The teasing and the snoring and you warm in the bed beside me.

So for a few selfish moments I simply lie here and relish in having you near again.

They do not last long.

For even though I know you are trying to be quiet and gentle, I can still feel the tension of the last two days in the stiffness of your shoulders and in the almost rigid way you hold your arms and while you must be exhausted, your breathing has yet to settle into the deep evenness of sleep, so I know you aren’t asleep.

So I slide my fingers through yours and still a little drowsily mumble your name.

Go back to sleep, you whisper, squeezing my hand in reply.

I snuggle closer and ask you the time.

A little before two.

Which means it is a lot later than I thought it was. That realization doesn’t trouble me nearly as much as your answer of pretty much when I ask if you’ve just gotten home.

While part of me wants to know if Catherine is all right, I already know she isn’t and I am more worried about you at this moment. Because although the fact that you are just getting home is worrying in and of itself, it is not half as troubling as the grim sort of despondency I hear beneath the faint no you give me when I say softly, Not the homecoming you were expecting?

That sound makes me shift onto my back and stare up at you.

The relaxed, and yet in some ways almost predatory, glint that I saw in your eyes just yesterday in the lab hallway has been replaced by the old weariness I know all too well. Even when you try to disguise it beneath the slight smile you offer me now.

I remember, too, that you had that same sort of somber, sober sort of air about you when one seemingly ordinary morning, you put your cup down on the kitchen island and turned to tell me we need to talk about something.

Rather reluctantly, I acquiesced and put my mug down next to yours. I remember, too, wishing I hadn’t done so, as holding it would have given me something to do with my hands, so that I could have concentrated on something other than the sudden and utter uneasiness that had taken up residence in the pit of my stomach. While there would have been a time when that feeling wouldn’t have been so unusual or uncommon, as of late it wasn’t one that I had cause to associate with you.

Perhaps the fear was irrational, it probably was, but all my past personal experiences told me that conversations that began with the words We need to talk never seem to bode well in the end, at least not for me.

While you began to explain and I heard the words Walden Pond… Williams College… Massachusetts… teaching… month… sabbatical… and I could vaguely understand why you are telling me this, and finally why you were so intently interested in reading Thoreau earlier, honestly, the only thing I could really think about then was what you said up in that bedroom all those months ago:

Or maybe they were suffocating each other and he couldn’t breathe —

And those long unspoken doubts, the ones that I kept telling myself were just silly irrational nonsense that I really didn’t need to worry you about, the ones that I thought were dead and buried in all that’s happened since, returned in all their panicked painted glory and all I could do was stammer and stumble over the hurt in the words:

You could have just told me you needed more space, time, that I was smothering — no suffocating — you.

Which was obviously not the response that you were expecting, because you simply stared at me for a long moment in rather stunned silence.

It’s equally obvious that you have never had to deal with the often illogical and yet entirely ingrained insecurities of the opposite sex, because you then made the mistake of telling me it’s not you.

A phrase which in no way is ever reassuring and always only makes the other person worry more.

So that when I finally did find my voice again, it was only to tell you in perhaps a louder and more insistent tone than necessary to spare the whole ‘it’s not me, it’s you’ speech.

Only after you slowly and carefully reiterated it isn’t you or you or even us, but the job that’s beginning to suffocate you, did I begin to truly understand what you were really trying to tell me.

Something I had had an inkling of for a while.

You’ve been different these past few months, not so much when we were alone, although even then a little, too, but more so at work. You’ve been quieter, distracted, preoccupied, and not in your usual obvious to the whole rest of the world sort of way. And although I was reluctant to concede the truth of it, I knew, too, that you were struggling, but not what to do about it.

I knew in the same way that I knew, even though you never told me so, that the headaches were worse and that the cases have tired you in a way that I haven’t seen since Debbie Marlin or Adam Trent.

It was, and is, a sad, yet nonetheless unsurprising fact, that Las Vegas always seems to constantly want to one-up itself with the sorts of horrors that the people here can inflict upon each other.

I thought that perhaps finally catching the ubiquitous miniature killer would have eased some of your anxiety, but the still fresh immediacy of Ernie Dell’s suicide seemed to still haunt you even then that morning.

So your question of if I ever got tired of living with the dead, isn’t all that unexpected.

To which all I could do was shake my head and sigh and say that It’s the living I have real problems with.

You seemed to understand this. In some ways, we have both always been like that, better with the dead than the living.

The dead can only haunt us, while the living are the ones who can most hurt us in the end.

When you removed and then began to fiddle nervously with your glasses, I realized that I wasn’t the only one who was feeling uneasy and on not so certain footing; something your half-mumbled Even me? only further confirmed.

So I didn’t wait long to reply with a slight smile, Well not so much anymore which thankfully succeeded in eliciting from you the ghost of a grin.

We were both quiet for a while before you placed a hand on mine and asked in that strangely still unsure voice if we’re okay?

I gave your hand a quick squeeze and replied that We are.

Or at least that was what I tried so hard to tell myself then, to insist that it was so, so that all of those unspoken doubts in my head could be hastily and hurriedly shoved away back in their usual dark corner.

Then as quickly as it had begun, subject of your leaving was done and over with, and like all the things you and I never want to deal with or confront, it wasn’t spoken about again until the week before you left.

It was one of those rare quiet afternoons when the phone did not insist on getting one or both of us out of bed at an ungodly hour of the day. One of those few times when we were together and both of us actually slept, undisturbed by the nightmares that had begun to plague us both.

But no, on that day, we both slept, perhaps a little too well, because when I did stir, I found it to be a lot later than I expected, and while I knew that I was supposed to be off that night, you were not.

I decided to shake you gently, which for some reason never seems to succeed in rousing you; tickling usually works better, but also usually makes you rather cranky, so instead, I decided to take a leaf from your book and kiss you softly awake. Something which I find really does work, because before I knew it, you were kissing me back and rather emphatically so.

But before anything could go too far, I hesitantly pulled away to rather reluctantly remind you that It’s late and you are going to be late for work.

To which you said something that I don’t think I have ever heard come out of your mouth before:

I’m not going in tonight.

I must have looked as dumbfounded as I felt, because you seemed to feel that further clarification was necessary and added I took the night off which didn’t make me feel any less disconcerted at all.

At this point, you probably could have heard a pin drop, because I was beyond astonished or amazed at this revelation and actually a little concerned.

I put my hand to your forehead. You didn’t feel feverish, but I asked you if you were feeling okay anyway just to be sure.

It was then your turn to look befuddled and nod and ask why?

The answer to that question seemed rather obvious to me and I told you so —

Because in all the time I’ve known you, I don’t recall you taking a day off that wasn’t scheduled weeks — if not months — in advance.

To which you smiled almost mischievously and said something that sounded like there’s a first time for everything, but I was not entirely paying attention at that moment because as you were saying this, you were kissing my neck in that way that you know almost invariably gets me to concede to anything.

I somehow managed to mumble out the question What do you have planned for your unprecedented night off? before I completely lost track of all rational thought and it became very obvious exactly what you had planned, at least for then and there.

It was only after, when we were laying there still slightly breathless, that I realized that night would, more likely than not, be the last time that we would be together like this until you returned.

Then suddenly, my throat tightened and I felt the pressing need to flee before the prickling of tears turned into actual crying and I couldn’t do that to you. Not there, nor then.

So I whispered something about getting cleaned up and slipped out of bed and into my robe.

Just five minutes.

That was all I really needed.

Five minutes to be selfish in private. Five minutes to be able to come to some sort of terms with what your leaving really meant for me and only for me.

Just five minutes.

And then I could go about being happy for you which I really was, and am.

So I closed the bathroom door behind me and began to run the shower water before I leaned heavily on the sink and let out the breath I hadn’t realized I had been holding. The tears I knew were coming came too, but at least they were quiet ones.

As was your tentative knock on the door. I hurriedly tried to wipe my face and rearrange it into a smile before I told you to Come in.

Neither the smile nor my vain attempt to hide behind the pretense of brushing my teeth, managed to fool you.

At the gentle, yet insistent warmth of your hand on the small of my back, I stopped. When I finally looked up, your face had joined mine in the mirror.

I involuntarily chocked on the toothpaste as you slipped the toothbrush from my hand. Once I had stopped sputtering, I realized that you were holding a cup of water out for me to drink and I took it mechanically and cleared away the last of the remaining taste of cinnamon.

You didn’t ask if I was okay, but I could see the question there in your reflection. I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and nodded, not entirely convinced that I could trust myself to speak right then.

Even your voice sounded a little apprehensive when you whispered, Sara in that way that always seems to take all the air from the room and then Honey which is the endearment you typically only use in private and more often than not, only when something has caught you off guard.

I’m not even sure you entirely realize what you are saying when you call me that, but I do know that when you do, you are trying to tell me something important, something you so desperately want to say, but don’t always know just how to.

I understand that feeling now and did even then, too.

For there was so much I wanted to say that evening, but never knew the words.

Thankfully, you seemed to find yours at least, because you gently turned me so I faced you, took my face in your hands and lifted it up and said, I’m not leaving you.

While I already knew it to be true, it was still good to hear those words from you.

But then suddenly you were apologizing, for what I still have no idea. So before you could get too much passed a second I’m sorry, I was gently kissing you quiet.

That tact only worked for a moment, because this time you were the one who pulled away to confess that you weren’t used to having it matter to anyone else if I stay or go.

I understood that, too, and nodded and then no more was said and the world began to right itself, start back up again, and return to some vague semblance of normality and the rest of the night, as those night were always so wont to do, passed too quickly.

But before you left, as I helped you on with your coat, my fingers lingered a little longer than necessary at the base of your neck, as if I could in that small act memorize the feel of you so that while you were gone, I could still remember what that warmth felt like.

It is that warmth now that surrounds me, that same warmth I wish I could give you as I take your face into my hands and rub the bare skin just above your beard with my thumbs.

Your eyes close at my touch and you seem to relax a little, at least enough for there to be a little mischief and a hint of amusement in your voice when you ask me when exactly the phrase I’ll see you later became code for I’ll see you at my place?

I laugh and shake my head and think — but do not say — probably about the same time I’ll see you when you get back meant that awkward farewell in the locker room right before you left wasn’t really a good-bye, just an ordinary I’ll see you, as if the intervening hours and days and weeks were as no more daunting or substantial than the time that separated one shift from the next.

I do however hazard to mention that you seem surprised to see me.

Your reply of I was seems rather ambivalent ,so I feel the sudden need to ask Good surprised or bad surprised?

When you open your eyes and simply reply Good, I feel my self-conscious smile turn into one of delight and am even more pleased to see that you are even smiling a little now, a genuine grin and not just one for display.

So I don’t feel the least bit hesitant in half-teasingly reminding you that I did tell you that I would see you when you got back and that I had told you just yesterday in the lab hallway you will when you asked if you would see me later.

I have to admit, but certainly never to you, that you caught me by surprise then — there in the hallway.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t glad to see you. I really was, along with surprised and startled and slightly mortified all at the same time.

For while I wouldn’t consider myself to be a particularly vain person, fresh — or rather not so fresh — off of dumpster duty is certainly not how I wanted you to see me for the first time in four weeks.

But strangely enough, you really didn’t seem to mind.

Actually, I think you were amused more than anything.

I remember Greg once telling me that a real man wouldn’t mind if I smelled like death. I wonder if that adage also holds true if you reek of the city dump.

Perhaps, if I had been able to get past mortified and thoroughly flustered, I would have managed to have been far more articulate than a silly, stammering teenager with a crush in telling you that you look good.

Of course the truth was you did.

You always do.

Although I don’t remember the last time you came back to the lab soiled and smelling of trash. I do remember that one time you came back covered in, and smelling of, something a lot worse, but I know better than to remind you of that incident, more so for Greg’s sake than mine.

Besides, I don’t need memories or fantasies to have you here with me again.

You are here now. Your hands soft and warm along my cheeks as you pull me towards you, and I am so overwhelmed with sheer warmth of you that I almost don’t hear you whisper I’m glad you’re here before kissing me softly.

*******

Communion

Grissom

While I know I have not truly been without you these last long weeks, for you, however unexpectedly, have still been with me in my heart, my mind, my soul and being, having you here beside me again, the sight and scent and sound of you, the taste and feel of you, utterly overwhelms me and I find myself all at once so utterly lost and yet so blissfully found in you.

Sara

When I first happily return your kiss, it is longing and need and wanting that fills me. Longing for the touch of you, needing the warmth only you can bring, wanting nothing more than this, this breathless moment of being with you like this again.

Grissom

As we pull away, your fingers and breath and lips linger first on my cheeks then my forehead and along my neck, which is both heaven and sweet torture. I lean in to kiss you back and as that kiss deepens, all the world disappears. All thoughts and cares and preoccupations, that relentless busyness of my mind ceases until I no longer know where I am, or who I am. All I know is you.

Sara

But that want, that need, quickly turns to something else, something greater, deeper.

It is not passion this. That bright flare of desire that flashes but for a moment, quickly consuming everything before the fire is gone and nothing else remains…

No, instead you fill me with tenderness.

Something I have never known with anyone but you.

Grissom

I bury my nose in your hair. It seems you, too, have showered since I’ve last seen you. Not that it mattered even then.

When I caught sight of you passing in the lab hallway, I was just so pleased to see you again. Dumpster duty be damned.

Perhaps, it is true what they say about absence making the heart fonder. I don’t really know or care.

All I do know is that even disheveled, with dirt on your face and your clothes a mess, you still looked striking, absolutely arresting.

And all I could think about was you, not the lab, not who might be watching or seeing or thinking, who knew what. It was just you and that strange sort of awkwardness I had never seen you display before.

Just you and the hope that lay in the words Yeah you will.

And here you are.

I breathe in deep the smell of you. That breath of lavender from the shampoo you only use at home, the scent that always reminds me of you, always fills me with thoughts of warm, sunny summer days full of joy and laughter, of home and hope.

Sara

We both seem to be longing for closeness, one that is beyond that merely borne out of being this long apart.

In times like these, when the world is going a million miles a minute and there seems to be nothing but chaos, I want nothing more than to bring you one still moment of peace.

That peace you have so often given me.

Grissom

It has taken a long time for me to let go of my fears and insecurities and what I thought for so long were my good intentions. But you have somehow managed to strip them away, along with all the walls I’ve built, day by day, moment by moment until I find here – now — I am ready to let the last of them go, to let go of everything that has ever held me back and it washes over me — the tenderness and the intensity of intimacy that is beyond the mere physical nearness of you — though that is here, too. No, this is more like that quiet intimacy we have so often shared, one of the heart and soul and being and becoming, only more.

Sara

You pull away slightly so now we lie facing each other.

Sara – you say, the sounds soft and warm and caressing as you take my face into your hands again and I can feel your eyes taking me in, as if you are trying to memorize me bit by bit.

When your eyes meet mine, I am certain that you can see yourself in my eyes as I see myself in yours, and not just because science tells us that the eyes naturally reflect back what they are seeing.

In the past, there have been times when I so desperately wished I knew your heart, and you mine.

But here and now, I do know and I know you do, too.

I can see it in your eyes.

Grissom

Sara

And in that one word there are so many others.

There is so much I want to tell you about who I am, why I am, the way I was, how much you’ve changed me. How much you are a part of me.

I tried so hard to tell you so in that letter, but found, too, that not only could I not find my own words to tell you so, but also that it seemed that such things were not meant to be written, but to be said, face to face and heart to heart like we are now.

And here I am, here with you; and yet, I still don’t have the words.

I sigh, thinking of how much you just don’t know and of all the things I cannot say.

Sara

It is strange — this thing between us — and always has been I guess.

Strange in the whole unexpected sense of that word. Strange in the way that I don’t have the words, words being your specialty, of course, and not mine, to describe what it feels like, this being with you.

I suppose the conventional response would be that I love you, but it seems so much more than that.

And yet for some reason there are no words to describe what feelings lie beyond love.

Grissom

I love you. I may not say it enough, but I hope you know that I do.

I love you.

But love is such a little word. Four letters transformed into a single syllable barely longer than a breath.

No wonder it feels so small that it cannot describe my feelings at all.

How I wish there were better words, words that better conveyed the way you make my heart stop on the still far too rare occasions you call me Gil. The peace you give me when there is nothing but chaos, the moments of stillness when it is just us and I can just be.

Sara

So I am left wishing for those words and all the others I do not know, the words to heal and hold and keep.

For as you have long been a source of comfort and surety for me, I hope you will let me be that for you, here, now, as long as you’ll let me.

For always even.

Grissom

But I know I have now this time alone, here with you, to tell you perhaps not in words, but in actions, how I love you.

How I wish I could show you my world. It all through my eyes. Give you all the joy and awe, so that you might know how wonderful it is to love and be loved by you. You who have loved me so patiently, so tenderly, so completely.

Sara

You rest your forehead against mine and we stay like this, quietly connected, until I am suddenly struck by the incongruous realization that I don’t remember coming to bed, that I haven’t a clue how I’ve gotten here, and without thinking, I blurt out as much to you.

But you, you only smile.

Grissom

While it is true that sleeping on the sofa does not provide the most comfortable or restful of sleeps, the reality of it was that I rather selfishly wanted you close to me.

Sara

I am momentarily puzzled when you reply, You didn’t to my asking about my coming to bed.

And then it hits me.

Grissom

I can’t keep my smile from growing as you stare at me wide-eyed in realization.

Sara

After a moment, I shake my head and sigh.

While the thought of you having carried me off to bed is sweet and touching, it still strikes me as strange and rather unGrissom-like behavior.

Grissom

I am not entirely sure. In fact, I am not sure at all, why women think that being carried off to bed is in any way romantic. While it felt wonderful to gather you up and pull you close and feel you settle against me, that wonderfulness didn’t last long, for soon I was more anxious about dropping you and worried about negotiating the stairs and down the hall to be thinking of anything amorous at all…

But we made it in one piece and you still peacefully unaware.

Sara

For some reason, the first thing out of my mouth is You could have hurt yourself.

To which you only say that you didn’t want to wake me.

Besides, you continue placidly, it wasn’t that far and you aren’t that heavy, dear.

Grissom

You look aghast.

And I realize a bit too late that I should have known better than to break that most cardinal of rules: that a man should never remark, even in passing, on anything remotely related to a woman’s weight, even when said woman has no reason to be concerned about her weight, except for being perhaps at times a little too thin.

So I stammer, I mean you’re not heavy at all–

Sara

I have to smother both a grin and an amused laugh at you awkward like this and try to look severe and disapproving instead for just a little longer.

Grissom

You look stern and yet faintly amused when you quick cut me off with Put the shovel down, Gilbert.

What? I have to ask, genuinely confounded.

Sara

I can barely keep up the facade any longer as I, in my best attempt at the serious tone you have down so well reply, I would suggest you put the shovel down before you manage to dig yourself into a deeper hole.

But I burst into laughter when you obediently intone, Yes, dear.

Grissom

It is so good to hear you laugh.

I have missed this playfulness we sometimes share, whether at my expense or yours, although I do like it better when it is at yours more so than mine.

But I know how to play this game, and sigh and say in a way that sounds as if I am perplexed, though I am not, I thought women liked being carried off to bed.

Sara

I lean in to whisper, as if I am imparting some grand secret to life, the universe and everything, I think that only applies when we are awake enough to enjoy it and plant a kiss on your nose.

Which doesn’t seem to faze you in the slightest, as you say in that tone you usually reserve for the very rare occasions when something you don’t know has been pointed out to you, Duly noted.

But it seems you are up to mischief, as you lean in this time and say into my ear I will keep that in mind for the next time.

Grissom

That quizzical look on your face is priceless as you stammer, Next time? to which I nod and give you a wink and make no reply.

Sara

Gil Grissom, I say, not quite sure what to say or do next.

Grissom

You must be flustered to not have called me Gilbert in this case, so I kiss you gently.

Sara

As we break away, It’s getting late, is all I can say and then You should get some rest.

Which is the wrong thing to say and that moment of levity and lighthearted banter has passed; I have brought us back to reality.

The reality of it is that the events of the last few days are not likely to be conducive to the sleep I know you need.

And I still lack the words to comfort you.

In the end, I only know that you and I are here in this moment, and hands and eyes and faces must convey all those things I cannot say, so that in some feeble way, you might know my heart and I yours, and we may both find rest in how strong and deep the emotions between us flows.

Grissom

I know from the unhurried, deliberate attention you pay to each button of my shirt your intentions. This is not to be attempt at seduction, but something far more intimate.

You ease the fabric away and rest for a moment your hand over my heart. I close my eyes as you pull me towards you until my head rests on your chest.

Your heart beats steady, sure, reassuringly constant and then your fingers wend through my hair before I feel the warmth of your hands as they barely brush up and down my back.

And again I can think of nothing but you, of us, here and now, nothing but the sheer joy of being together like this with you.

For your touch is soft, gentle, soothing, as if somehow you know exactly how to touch me and you do.

Sara

Before we got together, I would never have imagined that this would be something you would desire, just the nearness, gentle, soothing quiet of it all. But I should have known, for you are not so very different from the rest of us, despite the aloof demeanor you pretend to.

For how can any person not long to be touched, to simply be loved?

Grissom

Although I know it has always been about more than just sex with you, this intimacy is beyond even that, the intimacy of experience and being and becoming and believing that transcends any sexual pleasure I have ever known.

Sara

The warmth of your hand that bleeds through the thin cotton of my top only grows as your fingers edge beneath the hem to rest on my stomach. I cover your hand with mine and place a kiss in your still damp hair.

Grissom

Surrounded by you, covered and kept in the surety of love, I begin to settle into you and find my eyes closing.

My last thoughts before I drift away are that lying here with you, as close as two people can be, that I am here with you and that here with you, I find I am finally wholly myself, finally home.

Sara

Before long, I can hear your breathing deepen, feel the tension ease and you relax against me in what I know to be sleep.

Especially if the slight snore coming from you now is any indication.

What the next hours and days and years have in store I do not know. And I find I do not need to know.

All I know is you –

All I know is us —

All I know is home.

*******

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