Sunday, March 13, 2011

In Memoriam

Clark/Chloe angst (character death)
Futurefic, PG
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Written on the fourth anniversary of my soulmate's death.

I sometimes hold it half a sin

To put in words the grief I feel;
For words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the Soul within.

But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.

In words, like weeds, I’ll wrap me o’er,
Like coarsest clothes against the cold:
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline and no more.
-from "In Memoriam," by Alfred, Lord Tennyson


She looked at the yellowed clipping framed on her wall, and sighed, remembering how much it had hurt to write it. She'd covered every moment of Superman's time in Metropolis for the Daily Planet, from the moment he'd first arrived, wearing the yellow and scarlet sigil on his chest, to his triumph when he'd finally succeeded in putting Lex Luthor behind bars.

But this had been the hardest story she'd ever written.

She remembered sitting at her desk at the Daily Planet, trying to type, while tears ran down her face, obscuring her vision. Her editor Perry had stopped next to her chair and put a hand on her shoulder.

"Chin up, kid," he'd said gruffly. "We're all broken up about it. But Sullivan, the best way to deal with grief is to work. Anyway, writing the news is what we do... no matter how much it hurts."

She'd sniffled, and nodded, knowing he was right. Even though he couldn't know that her suffering was greater than anyone else's in Metropolis, even though he couldn't know that she had been Superman's wife... he was right. She was a reporter, and her most important job had always been to report on Superman.

And that meant reporting on his death as well as his life.

She stood there in front of the clipping, four years later, and felt a single tear trickling down her cheek. Most of the time, she tried to focus on the positive aspects of his life-- all the times he'd saved Metropolis and the planet, all the people he'd saved from muggings or robberies or suicides, all the hope he'd brought to the world.

And on a more personal level, all the times they'd laughed together, all the times they'd worked shoulder to shoulder, whether writing or doing "hero work." All the times they'd kissed, or made love, or held hands.

He'd made a tremendous difference to the world, and to her, in his too-short life, and that was something to celebrate. And yet she couldn't help mourning for his loss, even four years later. Not only did she find herself thinking of all the things he could have accomplished if he were still alive... but she missed him terribly.

And so did everyone else. Today the TV stations were full of tributes to Superman, news footage of his most famous rescues interspersed with people talking about how much he'd meant to the city, or telling stories of being saved by him. And because she'd been his unofficial biographer, there were interviews with her, too-- some of them dating from fifteen years ago, when he'd first arrived in the city, and some of them dating from just after his death, when she'd been visibly distraught and barely able to formulate coherent sentences.

She had only been able to bear watching the tributes for about an hour. She'd watched a few shots of him leaping into the air, his dark hair blowing back, his crimson cape rippling behind him, and she'd found herself sobbing. She'd turned off the TV and retreated into her sanctuary, the office where she sometimes wrote at home.

But even here, reminders of Superman were everywhere. Every major story she'd ever written about him lined the walls, photographs of him decorating almost every article. In every photo, he looked noble, courageous, an avenging angel sent from above to protect Metropolis. Even her coffee mug bore his sigil.

And now he was gone. The thought made her heart ache.

She sat down in her leather chair with a little sigh, admitting that he'd been too much a part of her life for her to escape. She could never forget him, not even for a day. She could never even learn to think of him without a little pang of pain and sorrow in her chest.

Not that she spent every day moping. Of course not. He wouldn't have liked that. The best way she knew to pay tribute to his memory was to go on living and working, and doing her utmost to help the world. Her mothods of helping the world weren't as spectacular as his had been, of course, but they still mattered.

So she didn't sit around grieving over him, most of the time. But there was always a faint shadow of sorrow somewhere deep within her. And today, on the anniversary of his death, she couldn't seem to escape her grief.

She squared her shoulders. The best way to cope with grief, she reminded herself, remembering Perry's words, is work. And the best way to deal with his death is to celebrate his life.

She drew in a long breath, then turned to the computer and began typing. Words appeared on the screen.


She looked up at the pictures on the walls, remembering his life as well as his death, and smiled a little.

And she typed faster.

-The End-


chloista4ever said...

So beautifully sad Elly, poor Chloe but I loved the fact that she's going to continue his legacy, no matter what.

Awesome stuff! <3

ctbn60 said...

This was wonderful and sad and so beautifully written. You really captured a very true moment for Chloe. Well done.

Meg said...

Thank you for the kind words, guys! Glad you liked it!


BabyDee said...

I've read every one of your Anniversary Stories, and I've teared up with every single one because I know they come from a place deep within; you really write from the heart.

Hope you are bearing up okay on this particular day, Elly. Thanks for sharing something so personal with us.


Mari Anne said...

So beautiful and sad and a true tribute to your own courage.

Anonymous said...

This was a very touching story, indeed. I'm so sorry for the loss of your own superman, Elly, and hope that you're doing better.

Your fans wish you the best.


Anonymous said...

It's hard to comment on this story because I want to say how powerful it is with Chloe coming to understand that she will never stop grieving or missing the man and the future that should have been but I know the deeper level that you are really writing and I wish that kind of deep lasing pain wasn't real. On the other hand I really feel in your words the joy in looking back and celebrating what was real and meaningful and that is a very beautiful thing.

Melissa aka BkWurm1