Table of Contents [Report This]
Printer Microsoft Word

- Text Size +

Empty Hallways

the lurker

Her footsteps echoed in the empty halls behind her. Tears fell unchecked down her cheeks as she quickly made her way out of the Centre and toward her car. She could no longer tolerate the uncertainties of the future, or from the people she loved. She unlocked her car, and as quickly as she could, drove away from the place that had caused her nothing but pain.....

The door closed behind him with a quiet click. He leaned against it and closed his eyes; whether it was to close out the memories her words had dredged up within him, or just to close out the drabness of the room and his life, he did not know.

"You lost the capacity to love the day your science experiment escaped the confines of the Centre. Face it, Sydney," she had said, "You’re too afraid of the consequences of caring to extend yourself past your scientific curiosity."

He squeezed his eyes tighter as he felt the sting of the truth begin to fill them.

Parker’s words still rang loudly in his ears, "Becoming involved with a real bond is beyond you, and all this time, I thought it was me. I thought there was something wrong with me." She had interrupted her own rant to smooth her suit jacket, "But it wasn’t me. It’s always been you. You live in fear, Sydney. You’re afraid of the Centre, you’re afraid Jarod will disappear and actually have a life without you - and you’re afraid of me."

He had known that he should have stopped her and refuted her findings, but his mind could not find its voice. Instead he had stood before her stoically, neither denying nor admitting his sins. Parker had waited for a full minute, just staring at him, but he had said not a word. Finally, with moist eyes, she summed it up in her typical succinct manner.

"Well, at least we know where we stand now, Sydney. We’re co-workers, acquaintances, nothing more."

She had paused once again, waiting for him to tell her how wrong she was, but he couldn’t bring himself to utter a sound. It was then that she had glared at him with shining eyes and dealt the final blow.

"Good bye then, doctor."

She had stalked out of his office, her head held high. He had followed her solemnly to the door, and stood there as it gently closed in his face. He couldn’t move; why had he said nothing? She had been right only about one thing: He was afraid. But his fear did not prevent him from loving; on the contrary, his heart with all the blows it had taken, loved deeper now than it ever had before. The only thing he feared was expressing the depths of his heart to those around him.

A silent tear slowly rolled down his cheek. He knew he should go after her; he knew he should tell her how much he cared for her. He knew. But he also knew he wasn’t going to do it. She had suffered enough, losing people she loved. He wasn’t going to add to it. He wouldn’t be around forever, why should he make her go through losing him as well?

An ironic smile crept upon his lips. He was lying to himself. He was just allowing himself an excuse not to open up to the pain of loving others. There was always pain involved one way or another. And yet he did love her, as much as he loved Nicholas, Michelle and Jarod. They were his family.

He walked to his desk and picked up the phone, dialing in a number. It rang a few times, then went to voicemail. He knew she wouldn’t be home yet; he didn’t actually want to say it to her. He couldn’t say it to her. But he would tell her just the same.

Her outgoing message finished and he heard the tone indicating it was time for him to speak. There was a momentary panic welling up in his throat, but he swallowed it down. His voice was slightly shaky, but he managed to speak.

"’s me. I suspect you’re on your way home now, so you’ll get this in awhile." He paused, trying to find the words, his voice growing softer as he continued, "I just wanted--" It was so hard for him, lending a voice to his feelings. He pushed through it anyway, "I just wanted you to know that you’re right. I am afraid. But fear does not change the truth. And the truth is quite simply that if I had a daughter, I would want her to be you."

He gently returned the phone to its cradle, his hand lingering on it for a moment. He wiped the moisture from his eyes, picked up his jacket and walked toward the door. It might not make a difference to her, but at least he finally admitted what was in his heart. He opened the door, switched off the lights, then gently closed the door.

His footsteps echoed in the empty halls behind him.


You must login (register) to review.