I’m almost afraid to want it.
John Green, we’re waiting.
"So I guess this is it, isn’t it? There are no more chapters, right? You said we were getting close and that was a while ago."
I stared up into the sky, it was the same old sky there had always been, except for some rainclouds that hadn’t been there a few minutes ago. It wasn’t raining, but they were still floating up there, grey and dismal.
You begin to ask me something.
"Don’t ask me how I know, I just do. Things just feel really final right now, like the downward slope is starting to level out. Eventually… We’ll hit the back cover, right?"
I sat down on a bench- had that been there a few minutes ago? It was hard to tell.
"Did you say yes? I think I heard you. Your voice keeps getting harder to hear."
Thunder rumbled, but… It wasn’t like the thunder I’m used to. It sounded like you, and it sounded sad. From one of the clouds, a single drop of rain fell on the grainy wood of the bench.
"… You’re crying, aren’t you? I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. I wish I could change this. I wish I could reach where you are."
Thunder rolled again, and behind it was a voice. Your voice.
"Me? I’ll be fine, I think. I don’t know if this has ever happened before. I don’t really know what happens when you… close the book."
You ask me if I’m afraid.
And oddly, I’m not.
"No, actually. Because… Whatever happens to me when you close the cover… You can always open the book up again, right?" and that’s when the answer hits me, the realization jolting me to stand again. "That’s it, isn’t it? You can open it back up. The words won’t change, but I’ll still be here. You can meet me all over again, and I can meet you, and everything we have will come back."
It’s raining now, and the clouds have merged together, and in them, for the first time… I see you.
You are the most beautiful person I have ever seen in my entire life.
You’re crying, but it’s quiet, and maybe that was the sound of your tears hitting paper.
I realize that we don’t have a lot of time.
"Listen- before it’s all over- I want you to know that everything, all of this… Even being over, it was worth it. It was worth it to meet you, to get to know you. Even if when you close that cover and I disappear- it was all worth it. I love you."
You love me too, I know it, I can feel it, just like for a moment I can feel what it would be like to hold your hand.
There is a very long pause, and I realize you’re prolonging what has to happen.
"You can do it."
For the first time, you have to be the hero. You have to close the book so we can keep going. And I believe in you.
The sky gets darker, slowly, but then it gets light again, and your face is still up in those clouds. You open your mouth and for the first time I HEAR you, not just feel what you’re saying or understand you in my own head, your voice comes through the pages in your world and into the reality of mine, and it reverberates and I can hear every little nuance, down to the hitch from you crying.
"I’ll never forget you," you say. "I’ll come back soon."