Exclusive!! Daniel's Journal

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Daniel’s Journal

    Golden, British Columbia
    March 21, 1992

Next time, I will have to give her up.
In this life we’re already too far along. Our course is set. Our old disaster looms ahead. My pen quakes as I write these words:
I can’t save her.
It has been one month since she found me at the bookstore. One month since she introduced herself—this time she goes by Lucy, which is so quaint it is beyond sweet—blushing as she tucked her hair behind her ear before she shook my hand. One month of taking that hand in mine each afternoon when she returns home from school.
I have cherished every inch of her. I have savored every pore of her soft skin and filled up too many sketchbooks with her hypnotizing eyes. Nothing is more bittersweet than this month of euphoria. It’s the same with each life’s love.
I’m a fool to savor it. Especially with the end so near.
Ages ago, Gabbe told me not to write this book. And there’s a long list of reasons why she’s right. I’ve been hunted for the things I wrote. Tried for heresy. I’ve gone mortal generations with a price on my head. Of course, right now the only reason that matters to me is this:
If I had never written The Watchers: Myth in Medieval Europe, Lucinda wouldn’t have stumbled across me restocking the shelves at the university library where her sister attends college. She never would have invited me to walk across the campus to meet Vera after class, never worked up the courage in those ten minutes to give me her phone number on the back of a drugstore receipt. We never would have ended up at her parents’ house later that night. Never walked through the drifts of snow on the path behind their cabin, talking for hours, laughing as if we’d known each other for centuries.
We would never have fallen in love.
And she wouldn’t be living her last days.
No. Even here, in these private pages, why do I continue to delude myself?
The truth?
Lucinda would have found me regardless of my stupid book. Just like she always does. She would have tracked me down and followed me and lowered her defenses with a rapidity she never understands. She would still have fallen in love. For the thousandth and the first time in her life.
And why not? It’s not torture for her . . . until the end.
It means it’s up to me to make the change.
Because, as Heaven is my witness, I can’t go on like this. The agony of one more loss will overwhelm me. Drive me mad. Having to watch her walk once more into the blaze of knowing—
I can’t.
Let these pages serve as a record: If it takes seventeen years to purge her from my soul—and I know it will—I’ll do it. The addiction will fade away. The pain of withdrawal has to ease.
Is it even possible? That someday love will loosen its grip on me? Until she’s only a memory, not a drug I have to have? It’s too hard to imagine, and it’s the only option I have left.
If I can do that for her, Lucinda will live a long and healthy life. She’ll do something she’s never done before: She’ll die old. She will love and blossom and find happiness. All these things she’s never known before. All without me.
It’s too late now, but it won’t always be. I have already begun the preparations for our next encounter seventeen years down the road.
How to save her. How to pull away.
Yesterday, I went to a meeting.
There was a flyer on the bus stop at the corner of Grand and Calgary: Twelve Steps to Overcoming Your Addiction. I was strung out and jittery after five hours of not seeing her. Five hours. It was all I could do to wait for her to get home from school so I could take her in my arms and—
Hold back. Because I always have to hold myself back. The moments when I haven’t have been the moments when she died. As soon as I kissed her, as soon as I did what I felt I was made to do, she was taken away from me.
Love. Vanishing. Into thin air.
I know all of this so well, but it has never gotten easier to control.
So I memorized the address on the flyer. I got on the bus and I traveled some distance and I got off. I walked into the dim, low-ceilinged room in the annex of a church. I sat on a hard folding chair in a small circle of grim-faced strangers. When it was my turn, I stood up. I cleared my throat and tried to ignore the burning itch of my wings when I said, Hello, my name is Daniel, and I am an addict.
They nodded and recognized me. They said: Tell us about your greatest high.
The other day. For example. I went further than usual with my drug of choice. A walk in the woods, that’s all. Snow falling, sun burning through the trees, and her. I’ll wager no one has ever felt more alive. It was like I couldn’t get enough. I knew that it could have turned ugly—I knew I was dancing with an overdose. But one tempting kiss was just so beautiful. The truth is, every time is exactly as intoxicating. Every moment surpasses metaphor.
They said: Now describe rock bottom.
Emptiness. Raw and consuming. From the first instant I run out until the instant I get my hands on more. An absolute vacuum ripping through my body, pulling out anything vital I contained. Weight where there should be weightlessness. A withdrawal worse than Hell.
Then they said: So is it worth it?
And I fell silent because it is all there is and no, it isn’t worth it.
And those bastards looked at me as if they got it.
It’s said in some circles that I have delusions of grandeur, but that is not the case. I recognized myself in all those sad souls around me at the meeting. My lost, forlorn expression mirrored each of theirs. Their skin was yellow and they smelled like Hell and their eyes were sunken with a kind of weak surrender. And every one of them was telling me it gets easier.
Not for me.
It wasn’t going to work. They spoke of romance with nostalgia, and in a way, I envy that. But the thing about these meetings is that their motto—their whole one day at a time approach—does not apply to me.
One day at a time for sixty more years is a drop in the bucket compared to what I’m looking at. An eternity of days without the one thing that completes me. A gaping emptiness without compare.
There was also the problem of God.
They said: Let Him restore you to sanity. Turn yourself over to Him.
And their faces—all that blatant disappointment—when I told them, frankly, that this is one trial God just isn’t going to help me through. I knew what they were thinking: In time, with a few more meetings and some straight, sober perspective, I’d surely come around. I wish I could.
On the bright side, I walked out of the meeting understanding one thing more clearly than I ever had before:
My addiction is not killing me. I’m the toxic thing that’s killing her.
I stepped into the shadows behind the church, let my wings slip forth, and opened them wide.
I had never felt so powerless. Even as I flew away, into the snow-white sky, above the blizzard they’d been expecting for days. My wings can’t save me. My nature can’t save me. It’s my soul that has work to do. I must close its heavy door on her.
Next life.
This life, I’ve already gone too far. There’ll be no stopping it now.
It’s beginning to snow again and I must sign off. There’s a skating party at Lucy’s house tonight. Vera invited all her friends, and I promised I would go.
This is it.
I’ll show up. I’ll know what’s coming. And I’ll love her right up until the very last moment. This will be the last Lucinda who ever dies at my hands.
Next time, I will give her up.

Text © 2010 by Tinderbox Books, LLC and Lauren Kate.

Copyright © 2010 Tinderbox and Lauren Kate.



  1. Wow! So good. Is this what you won? Donna

  2. No. Once I received the prizes I will add them to my other blog. As thats where the giveaway will be. this is just an extra from the publisher. there is going to be 3 more Im not sure that but I will get them over the next month.


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