We Do What We Can

Part 9

By: Girl Bard


Disclaimer: No one reads these, but I’ll humor myself. I don’t own LL or ROC, but if I did, I’m sure I’d be off doing more….er…entertaining things rather than writing about some fictional characters by the name of Jaden and Grace. So don’t get all legal on my ass because I’m a very poor college student with no money to my name. So anyone trying to sue me will get a lot of art supplies and an ornery Jack Russell Terrier.

Subtext: yes, Yes, YES!! This story starts out with a G rating, but will eventually proceed to NC-17. This means explicit sex between women. If this offends you, why are you reading alternative fan fiction? Huh?

Summary: This is the sequel to the sequel of I Know This Bar. It would really help if you read that story, followed by Houdini’s Box. This is the third (but not final) story in the series.

Author's Note: These two lovable characters blossomed into an actual story after driving on a rainy Massachusetts day listening to Ani Difranco's incredible song, "I Know This Bar." Henceforth, Houdini’s Box was inspired by Jill Sobule’s equally incredible song "Houdini’s Box." Because I’m a strict believer in following tradition, this story is named after the lovable Sheryl’s Crow haunting song "We Do What We Can."

Feedback: PLEASE! That’s all I need to say. girl_bard@yahoo.com

Dedication: My betas, you rule. My dog rules too. My girlfriend really rules. Life is good.

Journal Entry:

August 1, 2000

It's funny how we take for granted the most simple of all things. For example, the ability to read, the fact that the sun rises each morning, and the gentle sound of waves crashing on a beach are all things that we forget to see and be thankful for daily. And why should we? We will always have them, and it's easy to forget how important the unimportant things are in our life.

We take for granted that we will see our loved ones again. Do I regret not saying goodbye to my parents when I left Ohio? Sometimes. I wish that I could have told them that regardless of how much they hurt me, I do still love them. Now I'm unsure if I will ever see them again. I've called countless times and my mother either screams at me or refuses to speak with me.

Parents take for granted their children, as children do with their parents. Lovers who forget to say, "I love you" assume that their loved one will make it home later safely.

I've never had the courage to read the letter that Jaden wrote to me when she sent me to the cabin. I wasn't strong enough to read it there, and I know I'm not strong enough to read it now. It holds a certain sense of mystery for me. Does it profess her undying love for me? Is it a tirade of her feelings of guilt for Jonah and express her thoughts about why she had to send me away? Knowing Jaden, it's probably very short and direct, filled with thoughts of love and endearing remarks.

Did she ever think she would see me again? I know she didn't think that Aron would find me, but does the letter speak of her belief that she would be killed? The curiosity overwhelms me at times, but the fear of what the letter contains keeps me from opening it. I don't know if I can bear at this time to read of her final words to me. The thought of her dying by Aron's hand is too much for me to handle now.

At least that's what I keep telling myself.

I wonder if Aron had anyone at home waiting for him. I'm sure he had a family or someone who cared for him.

I do feel remorse for what happened. Not only do I feel the guilt of taking a life, I feel guilty for Ian giving his. Who justifies the worth of a human being? I don't believe in God, at least the conventional Christian or Catholic version of God, but there has to be something or someone who decides if we live or die.

Usually we are not responsible for making that decision ourselves. Yet, I did. I decided Aron's fate when I pulled the trigger. I don't regret my decision; I know rationally that he would have killed Jaden and many others. But I still shouldn't have had to make that decision.

I am sorry for what I've done. And as much as I love Jaden and care for Diana, Joe and my uncle, I feel as if they haven't allowed me to feel bad for what happened. Everyone keeps telling me that it wasn't my fault, and it wasn't murder, but it was in a way.

It's something else that we all just take for granted. Few people know what it is like to be responsible for someone else's death. It is a feeling that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Jaden knows how I feel, even though I do believe that she wasn't responsible for her brother's death. But because she feels responsible even though she didn't pull the trigger, she still feels the pain that I feel now.

I wish things were different for her, and for myself.

I always thought that I consistently embraced life to its fullest. But I know now, especially after the accident, that I didn't used too. Like everyone else, I overlooked the everyday things, and only took notice of what I felt was important. I thought by writing in my journal that I was experiencing life and committing the memories down for later.

I was wrong.

Writing was my life. I have carried a journal with me from the time I learned how to write and I still have my earliest journals with me, filled with my uneven grade-school printing. I brought them with me from Ohio, and have looked through them with joy and sadness since the accident.

I was so overjoyed by the small things as a child, and my journals are filled with descriptions of the sun and the grass and the moon at night. I would write epics about a cat I saw in my back yard, everything from the dew it carried on it's whiskers, to the sound it made when stalking bugs. My work from elementary and intermediate school was always filled with comments from my teachers citing my "over-descriptive" way of writing.

The Young Authors contest was held yearly in my school and I always entered, with stories such as "Kuni: The One-Legged Cherokee Boy" where as a third-grader I tried to deal with Kuni's pain at losing his leg in a bear trap and his feelings while hobbling down the Trail of Tears. I was an incredibly over-analytical and intense child and would rather bury myself in the Black Stallion books than play outside or watch television.

As I grew older, my writings concentrated on stories of what I considered to be a "perfect" life. They are all about a little girl whose mother is a veterinarian and father trains horses. They are so funny to read now, but I can't help but be saddened by the lonely child that I was who found comfort in her fantasy life.

My high school journals are filled with the usual, rants about petty fights with friends, the boys I was madly in love with (those entries especially humor me now), and what I wanted to do when I was a "grownup."

But it is my writings from my later years that trouble me the most. Completely devoid of the important things in my life, they focus only on what I don't have.

One could say that I have everything I ever wanted right now. My independence is mine since I left Ohio and I've found the one person in life that I am meant to be with. And though we haven't made any huge, life-changing commitment to each other or even talked of the future, I know that my future is indeed with Jaden.

Funny, isn't it? A woman that I know so little about, but feel as if I know better than anyone else has captured my heart. And I know she feels the same of me.

So why am I still feeling unfulfilled? I know rationally that the only way to feel fulfilled is not by other people loving you, but you loving yourself. And until I deal with my feelings from the accident, I fear that my life will continue down this uneven path.

The accident. I still call it that, like I was in a car crash or something. But I can't think of a better word for it. The murder? That's truly what it was. Sure you can throw the words self-defense in there, but regardless, I murdered Aron.

At this, I glance over to my sleeping lover, her long hair mussed around her peaceful visage. We have spent a beautiful summer day at the beach and just returned home when the sun began to set. I am so enjoying our time together; it's wonderful for Jaden to have time off from work and even better to be able to be with each other night and day.

She is so tan, her normally olive skin a rich bronze from the bright rays of the sun. I, who curses my fair skin each summer, am an unusual shade of pinkish red regardless of how much suntan lotion I slather on myself.

But back to Jaden.

It is so rare that I have a glimpse of her sleeping. Our internal clocks always seem to be running at different times, and her biorhythm urges her out of bed in the early hours when I am just falling into my most deep of sleeps.

Today was no different. I awoke to find her gone along with Bean. By the time I crawled out of bed and showered they were just returning from their daily run. Jaden had her appointment with Miranda shortly after and I used the time alone to look through my old journals, excited at the prospect of finally writing pain-free from my shoulder.

By the time we returned from the beach this evening and made dinner, Jaden was exhausted, falling asleep on the couch shortly after.

She's beautiful. I know I describe her that way often, and that is the first thing anyone notices about her. She's striking, and people of all shapes and sizes are dumbstruck when passing her on the street.

To me, she holds a completely different kind of beauty. She possesses everything that a woman should be, strength, intelligence, the ability to love deeply, and a maternal instinct that is so strong that it overpowers anything else.

Jaden is the Great Goddess. And as I study her now, I notice the things that no one else does, like the errant freckle that dots her arm occasionally, the scar on her bicep shaped like a half moon, and how her ring finger is almost as long as her middle one.

She is not perfect, as nor am I. And I guess no matter how flawed we all may be, we still all have the inner strength that I see in Jaden.

We just all don't know how to use it.

I guess I've lost my train of thought again. How does a comment about not enjoying the simple things in life lead me to this?

I smile now, not only laughing at myself, but at my ability to constantly amaze myself with my lack of attention span. I can't stay on any one subject today.

All my thoughts are a field of dandelions that have just been scattered by the wind.

I need to find a job and finish college. It is something I've been putting off since I moved here and I have to get my act together. Now if I could only decide what I wanted to do with my life, it would help drastically.

Writing was my life. I know I already stated that, but it is true. I've always aspired to be a great writer because that is how I feel I could express myself. But now, since I've moved here, the urge to write has become less and less.

It's amazing that the ability to express my feelings now out loud make the urge to commit them to paper almost fade.

A career in writing holds no appeal to me now, as does teaching. Those are the only things I've ever wanted to do with my life and it's dreadfully frightening to have my two dreams not really be dreams anymore.

I want a career that I can sink my hands into and feel strongly about. The thought of being in a classroom everyday teaching doesn't thrill me, as does the thought of sitting long hours in front of a computer typing away at my inner thoughts. I honestly feel that if I try and force myself to write as a career that I will lose the passion I have for it in my spare time.

Or at least lose the passion I used to have for it. I've always glamorized the life of a traveling bard, working my way from town to town, earning my living by entertaining the public masses. How wonderful it would be to travel the world with my scrolls and document everything that I see!

But I am becoming less of a bard now, and I find myself still eager to travel the world and document everything I see, but I want to absorb it and really feel it inside.

I would never consider writers to be distant from their environment, the way they describe and the feelings they evoke in their readers have always assured me that writers are incredibly in touch with their internal selves.

I understand now that writing is indeed a distancing technique. By committing it to paper, it ensures that the writer doesn't have to feel what they are writing, just be able to describe and depict their observations.

Or perhaps this is just my experience. I do know that even as of now, only a few pages into my entry, that I am tired and bored with documenting my feelings. I grow restless of this now, and want to do nothing more than curl up on the couch with my dozing lover.

It's easier than delving inside and dealing with all the feelings that churn around like angry waves.

We still haven't really spoken about Aron except during the 4th of July fireworks. Funny, isn't it? It's been almost a month and we still haven't even begun to explore how it has affected our relationship and us as individuals.

Jaden is ready. Her sessions with Miranda are helping her and she's becoming more aware of her emotions and feelings by leaps and bounds.

And I, always the one who pressed her to talk and experience the feelings she used to hold inside, have now grown silent and stoic.

It's as if we've changed roles. And while she seems to feel comfortable in her new skin, I can't even begin to understand what has happened to my old one.

Things change, but always remain the same. An oxymoron, I know, but one that I've found to be true.

No matter how much Jaden or I change, the strength of the bond we share will always remain. That is something that I have infinite confidence in.

I can't help but glance at her again, still finding her at peace in her sleep. The warm summer day has turned into a cool starlit and we both shiver at the cool air rushing through the open windows.

I will stop writing and shut them soon.

Stars, like far away fireflies, reflect off the smooth surface of the ocean. The moon pours her pale enchantment down to her reflection in its glass surface. The entire perfect scene reminds me of the Ani Difranco lyric; "The moon was so beautiful that the ocean held up a mirror."

Tears now fill my eyes. There is something about the sky tonight that calls to me in almost a primal way.

These heavens bring thoughts of eternity.

The summer is almost over. I eagerly am awaiting my first fall in New England. Jaden has promised me the turning leaves here are unlike any other part of the country. We will drive through the White Mountains and pick apples, she said.

At the first sign that autumn is nearing I want to shut all the doors and windows tight and build a fire in the fireplace. There I will lay with Jaden and drink in the blue of her eyes.

I close my eyes, once, releasing the tears blurring my ability to see. I don't know what to do right now, or in the future.

The urge to feel and deal with what happened with Aron is overwhelming. I just want everything to get better so I can enjoy my time I have with Jaden without the ghost of Aron constantly pulling at me, begging me to give him attention.

Wasn't I writing earlier about humans overlooking the small things in life and taking things for granted?

Am I not doing the same? Do I not take for granted the thought that Jaden and I will be together long enough for me to constantly put my feelings about Aron on the back burner? I honestly believe that if something happened to either one of us right now that I would not want my last remaining memories to be of this huge white elephant named Aron standing in the room but the both of us being afraid to comment on it.

The time has come for me to put everything on the table and come to terms with what happened to Jaden, Aron, and myself. Because as much as I've been trying to convince myself that I'm the only one affected, Jaden has been deeply as well.

I think the way to start is to look at everything from the past. I'm still terrified to read Jaden's letter. I need to do that, to see and feel her feelings before trying to sort out my own.

The timing is perfect, she is soundly asleep and everything is quiet. I've waited too long in the shadows. I'm coming out into the sun to reclaim my life.



I know you're probably really pissed at me right now. I guess I can only hope that you didn't either shred this or throw it away and that you're actually reading it.

I don't blame you for being mad. In fact, I wouldn't blame you if after this entire mess is over you decided that you didn't want to see me anymore.

I want to start by saying that I'm sorry. I wish that I had disclosed my past with Aron to you before you moved here so you would at least be a little less shell-shocked. But please believe me when I say that I thought he was long gone and would never ever surface. I never expected him to come back into my life and I am sorry that he is now a part of yours.

I want you to be safe. Gracie, you're the most important thing to me and all I want is for you to be happy. I can't let him use you to get to me, and any idiot can see that you're the direct link to my heart. I don't want you to be a token that he can play with and I'm trying to do what is best for you.

I know you can't believe me. And trust me, if I could write it any more eloquently, I would. Can you please trust that I'm trying to do what I see is fit?

Try to enjoy yourself up here. I know it will be hard, and I know you'll do it anyway, but try not to worry about me.

Know that I'll be thinking of you constantly and want you with me as soon as possible.

I love you.


P.S. I'm sorry that I'm not good at writing like you are. I wish that I could tell you how much I love you and how the thought of you being up here alone kills me. Gracie, I'm scared. I know it sounds silly to admit, but I am. For the first time in my life I actually care if I live or die.

I can't bear to think of not seeing your sweet face, or the deep forest green of your eyes when you first wake up. Did you know that your eyes change color, just like the different depths of the ocean? Sometimes they are a gray blue, other times they are aqua. I can tell your mood by your eye color. I know it sounds stupid, but it's true.

I want to be around to see the color of your eyes in complete happiness. I know things have been rough for you since you moved here, and I eagerly await the brilliant hue your eyes will shine with when you finally get all that you've been looking for.

Please know that I will do anything to have you return to me. And I know that right now you're thinking of that awful David Duchovny-Minnie Driver movie by the same name. Yes, I agree with you, he shouldn't have tried to be anything else but Fox Mulder. And yes, I also agree with you that Tea Leoni is the Yoko Ono of the X-Files.

But in all seriousness, I love you. And I want to make a life with you. I know it's a big step and rather stupid to mention it only in a letter, but it's how I feel.

I want to wake up with you in the morning and fall asleep in your arms. Basically, take the most cliché and sappy words to a country song and that's how I feel. I'm hopelessly and completely in love with you.

When I see you again I will cherish you with a thousand kisses.


Part 10: Coming soon! Stay tuned and please email me with feedback!!!

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