This week is all about those tear-jerker scenes that get you right in the heart. Re-living these scenes made my heart heavy so a trip down memory lane was a little painful. But I finally have my pick for the week so on to the tears…
*SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! (especially for those who haven’t read If I Stay yet… please proceed with caution)
“Maybe it was who I needed to be for a while,” she cries. “And I’m sorry. I know I should’ve contacted you. Should’ve explained. But you weren’t all that accessible.”
“Oh, bullshit, Mia. I’m inaccessible to most people. But you? Two phone calls and you could’ve tracked me down.”
“It didn’t feel that way,” she said. “You were this . . .” she trails off, miming an explosion, the same as Vanessa LeGrande had done earlier in the day. “Phenomenon. Not a person anymore.”
“That’s such a load of crap and you should know it. And besides, that was more than a year after you left. A year. A year in which I was curled up into a ball of misery at my parents’ house, Mia. Or did you forget that phone number, too?”
“No.” Mia’s voice is flat. “But I couldn’t call you at first.”
“Why?” I yell. “Why not?”
Mia faces me now. The wind is whipping her hair this way and that so she looks like some kind of mystical sorceress, beautiful, powerful, and scary at the same time. She shakes her head and starts to turn away.
Oh, no! We’ve come this far over the bridge. She can blow the damn thing up if she wants to. But not without telling me everything. I grab her, turn her to face me. “Why not? Tell me. You owe me this!”
She looks at me, square in the eye. Taking aim. And then she pulls the trigger. “Because I hated you.”
The wind, the noise, it all just goes quiet for a second, and I’m left with a dull ringing in my ear, like after a show, like after a heart monitor goes to flatline.
“Hated me? Why?”
“You made me stay.” She says it quietly, and it almost gets lost in the wind and the traffic and I’m not sure I heard her. But then she repeats it louder this time. “You made me stay!”
And there it is. A hollow blown through my heart, confirming what some part of me has always known.
The electricity in the air has changed; it’s like you can smell the ions dancing. “I still wake up every single morning and for a second I forget that I don’t have my family anymore,” she tells me. “And then I remember. Do you know what that’s like? Over and over again. It would’ve been so much easier . . .” And suddenly her calm facade cracks and she begins to cry.
“Please,” I hold up my hands. “Please don’t . . .”
“No, you’re right. You have to let me say this, Adam! You have to hear it. It would’ve been easier to die. It’s not that I want to be dead now. I don’t. I have a lot in my life that I get satisfaction from, that I love. But some days, especially in the beginning, it was so hard. And I couldn’t help but think that it would’ve been so much simpler to go with the rest of them. But you—you asked me to stay. You begged me to stay. You stood over me and you made a promise to me, as sacred as any vow. And I can understand why you’re angry, but you can’t blame me. You can’t hate me for taking your word.”
Mia’s sobbing now. I’m wracked with shame because I brought her to this.
And suddenly, I get it. I understand why she summoned me to her at the theater, why she came after me once I left her dressing room. This is what the farewell tour is really all about—Mia completing the severance she began three years ago.
Letting go. Everyone talks about it like it’s the easiest thing. Unfurl your fingers one by one until your hand is open. But my hand has been clenched into a fist for three years now; it’s frozen shut. All of me is frozen shut. And about to shut down completely.
I stare down at the water. A minute ago it was calm and glassy but now it’s like the river is opening up, churning, a violent whirlpool. It’s that vortex, threatening to swallow me whole. I’m going to drown in it, with nobody, nobody in the murk with me.
I’ve blamed her for all of this, for leaving, for ruining me. And maybe that was the seed of it, but from that one little seed grew this tumor of a flowering plant. And I’m the one who nurtures it. I water it. I care for it. I nibble from its poison berries. I let it wrap around my neck, choking the air right out of me. I’ve done that. All by myself. All to myself.
I look at the river. It’s like the waves are fifty feet high, snapping at me now, trying to pull me over the bridge into the waters below.
“I can’t do this anymore!” I yell as the carnivorous waves come for me.
Again, I scream, “I can’t do this anymore!” I’m yelling to the waves and to Liz and Fitzy and Mike and Aldous, to our record executives and to Bryn and Vanessa and the paparazzi and the girls in the U Mich sweatshirts and the scenesters on the subway and everyone who wants a piece of me when there aren’t enough pieces to go around. But mostly I’m yelling it to myself.
“I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!” I scream louder than I’ve ever screamed in my life, so loud my breath is knocking down trees in Manhattan, I’m sure of it. And as I battle with invisible waves and imaginary vortexes and demons that are all too real and of my own making, I actually feel something in my chest open, a feeling so intense it’s like my heart’s about to burst. And I just let it. I just let it out.
When I look up, the river is a river again. And my hands, which had been gripping the railing of the bridge so tight that my knuckles had gone white, have loosened.
Mia is walking away, walking toward the other end of the bridge. Without me.
I get it now.
I have to make good on my promise. To let her go. To really let her go. To let us both go.
That’s it for me for this week’s edition. Which scenes made you teary-eyed or bawl out in tears?