The first star I see may not be a star
We can't do a thing but wait
So let's wait for one more
The week had been lived in a fugal state in which Aric had very little recognition of the events happening around him. Snippets and pieces of memories came to him, like struggling to remember a dream ? except the cause of it was right out of a nightmare. He couldn?t put the order of events in any timeline, but just remembered snippets here and there.
The text. The visit to Star?s End Bar. Denial. A conversation with Collette from Summerlane. Throwing himself into working to open of the Old Temple Animal Shelter and Veterinary Clinic. Jewell?s confirmation of the news.
And the time, such clumsy time
In deciding if it's time
I'm careful but not sure how it goes
You can lose yourself in your courage
Aric grieved alone, only sparing his voice for conversations about what needed to be done. He had buried his feelings and his grief deep in his heart, afraid that if he allowed them to surface, they would eat him from the inside out and leave him a hollow shell of a man. He suppressed the pain, the anger, the rage, the helplessness, the confusion, the regrets, and other emotions that he knew all too well. But he could not escape them completely, nor could he avoid the familiarity of the memories when compared to how he felt when his sisters were taken away before their time.
Aric knew all too well where the road lead when he let his guilt and grief consume him. He wanted nothing more than to be selfish and allow himself to cut off everyone and everything while he forced himself to go numb. But when he closed his eyes and saw that starshine smile breaking through the darkness, Aric decided most of all that what he wanted was to make Lirssa proud, and to continue her work.
And the mindless comfort grows
When I'm alone with my 'great' plans
And this is what she says gets her through it
"If I don't let myself be happy now, then when?
If not now, when?"
The first step to try and lift the fog from his head was to do what had worked for him before, a long long time ago. Aric went to the fully staffed and opened shelter, but not as an owner or founder, but instead as a man who was looking to find another lost soul in need of a friend. Aric found two pets, an Australian Cattle Dog and Norwegian Elkhound. Although Lirssa lost her life to a star, he wanted to believe that only meant she could shine brighter than ever before. So it only seemed fitting to name his new pets Helios and Sol in her honor.
Next was to go to Summerlane to resume his tutoring. Not today, though ? today was for introducing the kids to the dogs and assuring them that they will come around with him a lot. It was also to assure the children that he was not going to go anywhere, and would be back tomorrow. Taking care of the children was what Lirssa lived for, and so now it became Aric?s top purpose in life. He would not let her down, and his goal was to carry her legacy forward and carry the torch in supporting Summerlane and its kids.
The final visit was to the Cardinal Inn to meet with Franklin. He was not sure if they heard the news or not, but the Baroness would not be returning. Aric made a promise to watch over the district as if it was his own, and especially in these dangerous times, to vow to protect the Inn and any who sought shelter there. If there was one thing that Aric had learned to do well in all his years, it was to protect people. Perhaps that?s why he felt so guilty now? because he was not with Lirssa to protect her. He declined to visit the room which Lirssa had allowed him to keep when he was her squire, and returned to Old Temple.
I close my eyes and believe
Wherever you are, an angel for me
On the walk back to Old Temple, Aric?s eyes went toward the stars in the night sky. He caught site of a bright light in the blackness of space: the rare sight of a star that was now going supernova ? exploding into a bright celestial light as its dying act for the universe to remember it by. Even then, Aric knew that it was only half as beautiful? or as bright? or as dazzling? when compared to the smile that he would never see again.
When the time we have now ends
When the big hand goes round again
Can you still feel the butterflies?
Can you still hear the last goodnight?
Lyrics: Jimmy Eat World - For Me This is Heaven