Some books are not easy to categorize. For example Me before you written by Jojo Moyes is a book about love, but not the classical romance with the expected ending. It tested my patience, my psychological knowledge and last, but not least my capacity to hold it together 🙂 Wonderful characters and wonderful storytelling make it easy for this book to have a big impact on anyone reading it. And the biggest lesson I learned from this book is that “You know, you can only actually help someone who wants to be helped”, and we all need to respect that.
‘So … ’
‘You’re not going to –’
‘I’m not going to try and change your mind.’
‘If you’re here, you accept it’s my choice. This is the first thing I’ve been in control of since the accident.’
And there it was. He knew it, and I knew it. There was nothing left for me to do.
Do you know how hard it is to say nothing? When every atom of you strains to do the opposite? I had practiced not saying anything the whole way from the airport, and it was still nearly killing me. I nodded. When I finally spoke, my voice was a small, broken thing. What emerged was the only thing I could safely say.
‘I missed you.’
He seemed to relax then. ‘Come over here.’ And then, when I hesitated. ‘Please. Come on. Right here, on the bed. Right next to me.’
I realized then that there was actual relief in his expression. That he was pleased to see me in a way he wasn’t actually going to be able to say. And I told myself that it was going to have to be enough. I would do the thing he had asked for. That would have to be enough.
I lay down on the bed beside him and I placed my arm across him. I rested my head on his chest, letting my body absorb the gentle rise and fall of it. I could feel the faint pressure of Will’s fingertips on my back, his warm breath in my hair. I closed my eyes, breathing in the scent of him, still the same expensive cedar-wood smell, despite the bland freshness of the room, the slightly disturbing scent of disinfectant underneath. I tried not to think of anything at all. I just tried to be, tried to absorb the man I loved through osmosis, tried to imprint what I had left of him on myself. I did not speak. And then I heard his voice. I was so close to him that when he spoke it seemed to vibrate gently through me.
‘Hey, Clark,’ he said. ‘Tell me something good.’
I stared out of the window at the bright-blue Swiss sky and I told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn’t have met, and who didn’t like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other. And I told him of the adventures they had, the places they had gone, and the things I had seen that I had never expected to. I conjured for him electric skies and iridescent seas and evenings full of laughter and silly jokes. I drew a world for him, a world far from a Swiss industrial estate, a world in which he was still somehow the person he had wanted to be. I drew the world he had created for me, full of wonder and possibility. I let him know a hurt had been mended in a way that he couldn’t have known, and for that alone there would always be a piece of me indebted to him. And as I spoke I knew these would be the most important words I would ever say and that it was important that they were the right words, that they were not propaganda, an attempt to change his mind, but respectful of what Will had said.
I told him something good.
Time slowed, and stilled. It was just the two of us, me murmuring in the empty, sunlit room. Will didn’t say much. He didn’t answer back, or add a dry comment, or scoff. He nodded occasionally, his head pressed against mine, and murmured, or let out a small sound that could have been satisfaction at another good memory.
‘It has been,’ I told him, ‘the best six months of my entire life.’
There was a long silence.
‘Funnily enough, Clark, mine too.’
And then, just like that, my heart broke. My face crumpled, my composure went and I held him tightly and I stopped caring that he could feel the shudder of my sobbing body because grief swamped me.