Mad Life

by sharilyn

EMAIL: Sharilyn

i. sweet life

I know how we give it all

hold me up

hold me up into the sun and watch me burn

come undone

it can come apart when everything seems lost

it's insane how I try to find what to believe in...

--from "Mad Life" by Dishwalla

I can't believe I've messed things up this bad; how could I have been so abysmally short-sighted when I wrote my dissertation? Stupid, stupid, SO stupid!...I was so caught up in the glorious 'romance' of it all, so enamored first of my subject matter and then, in a sense, of the subject himself, that I failed to retain the very objectivity and critical distance necessary to protect my primary source and ultimately the very integrity of my project.

But that isn't the worst part; considering what my lack of foresight has done to Jim--all the pain and problems I've brought into his life because of my doctoral thesis on sentinels--I might just have ruined the closest friendship I've ever had the honor to share with another human being.

The threat of never again seeing his eyes crinkle in laughter over some joke shared between us, of never again hearing that teasing note of casual affection in his voice when he calls me "Chief" is about the worst feeling I can ever imagine.

I'm so lost right now; everything is falling apart around me, and the one solid thing I thought I could always believe in has collapsed into rubble at my own hands. I'm sorry, Jim; so, so sorry. And I know mere words will never be enough; but I don't know how to fix this now. Dammit, I don't know what to do.


ii. hold me up

when I try to give and all I get is hurt

it's okay that I feel faded today

and lord I know that I can find some peace in this world

in this world...

I can't look at him anymore. Part of it is this white-hot, unrelenting anger that I still feel each time I think about the way Blair's careless failure to implement a few simple, basic safeguards into the body of his dissertation has created this fiasco that we're living right now. I mean, what the hell was he thinking, not even bothering to mask my true identity in ANY of the drafts he penned? Even if he had planned to go back later and edit each edition, his lack of foresight in not doing it from the start isn't a mistake that can be retroactively rectified.

But I guess it was pretty silly of both of us to think no one would ever put two and two together and figure out just who the real-life sentinel of his thesis might be. I know I'm being needlessly cruel to him right now, twisting the knife of anger and censure just that much deeper each time he's anywhere in my vicinity, and it's making me feel as sick and miserable inside as the mute darkness of grim dejection I see in his eyes each time he tries to pin me down to talk to me, only to be brusquely brushed off. I know I should be a bigger man than this, that none of Sandburg's actions were done out of malice or mere self-aggrandizement; but right now, today, I just don't have the energy to deal with his emotions on top of my own.

My senses feel as dull and muffled and faded as if I were trapped in a deep, dark hole a mile underground, and all I want is a little bit of peace and quiet so I can regather the tattered remnants of my dignity and self control.


iii. sweet life

I know will it fade away

sweet life

I know can we give enough before we come undone

before we come undone

I'm waiting for the love to come around and save us from ourselves...

"Uh...Jim? I-I know you don't really want to talk to me right now, and God knows I understood that, really...I mean, who can blame you, right? But I just...I just thought...I was wondering, I mean...God, Jim, I just really need..."

"Chief? Just...stop. Okay? Please. No. Just. No. I can't hear this right now, none of this heavy stuff. Over the past two days we've both done things, said things...well, there's been a lot that's going to be hard, if not impossible, to take back. We both know that. And right now I don't think either one of us has the intestinal fortitude to sit down when we're running on little more than fumes and exhaustion and try to figure it all out. I mean, I know how you are, Blair, I understand how vital talking stuff out is to your sense of justice and fairness and well-being; and usually I can respect that. But not now, not tonight. I just want some rest, Chief; and if those dark circles under your eyes are any indication, you could use about a week's worth of shut-eye yourself. We'll talk later, I promise. And we WILL work this out; I can at least offer you some reassurance as far as that goes.

We've invested too much into this partnership to just turn tail now and run, and I'll be damned if I'll allow any of those clueless yahoos in the press to ruin something they can't even begin to appreciate or understand. So...Ah, there it is--yeah, the shaky beginnings of that famous Sandburg smile I was beginning to think I'd never see again...See, proof positive that there is indeed light at the end of this particular dark tunnel we've been slogging through for the past forty-eight hours.

It's going to be okay, partner; yeah, I said it--PARTNER--and...Oh, god, don't start with the puppy dog face! And NO hugging, we're not THAT far along into patching things up between us!...Argh, what did I JUST say, now I've got a mouthful of Blair hair!!

Go on, Sandburg, out of here, stop crowding my space and let a tired, grumpy sentinel sulk and fume in peace for just one more night. And believe me, you're not getting out of this that easy, you're gonna be scrubbing the john with a toothbrush for the next three years if I have anything to say about it...

What do you mean, dream on? Oh, and NOW you've suddenly discovered you're too exhausted to continue this...what do you mean we'll pick this up in the morning? Sandburg, get back here, that's MY robe you're dragging into the bathroom with you! And why do YOU get first dibs on the shower, I'm the one covered in the stench of every crazed, rabid reporter in ten states breathing down my neck wanting to see me perform tricks like some trained poodle!...

Oh, no, don't you throw that back at me, the whole 'you said we'd talk about this in the morning' nonsense...Chief! Chief?...Ah, dammit, I bet he uses all the hot water, too. Crap. Ah, to hell with it; welcome back, Chief. Good to have you home."