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19 January 2008 @ 01:41 am
Theatrical Muse: Week 213: Question 213  
Name: Dr. Sid Hammerback

Fandom: CSI: New York

Word Count: 1410


"There's enough sorrow in the world, isn't there, without trying to invent it."
E.M.Forster, A Room With A View.



“Ah.” The man breathed slowly, shifting delicately on the balls of his feet, his toes barely touching the ground. There was a silly, quiet grin on his face, and his eyes were full of a hidden, secretive sadness. Stella stood n the middle of his kitchen, looking at him, somewhat warily, but with eyes that were also full of curiosity. Barefooted and rocking slowly on his feet, Sid Hammerback had been caught off guard by her rather impromptu question.

“Do you still think about your wife?” she had questioned, her eyebrows raised apprehensively as she stepped into dangerous, mainly uncharted territory. He could see, by the look on her face, that she had immediately regretted the question.

He had been more open with her as of late, especially when she had caught him the other day, in the break room, gingerly fingering an intricate, delicate, and old, Alice band from way back when. Pained and lonely from one too many sleepless days full of work and dreary images, he had gone home to change and shower, and came back with his memento, and his dinner, to eat before he began work again. It was his way, after all, to grind himself against the stone when he felt more lonely than lonesome, and such a manner translated into weariness, tiredness, and generally being more lonely than when he had started out. Either way, she had found him there, turning over the worn leather and heavy beads of the precious items. She had seen the tears welled in his eyes, and that painful look that he wore, one of a recently wounded creature who continued to live with almost unbearable pain. And, moving over to him as light turned into dusk, she had sat in a chair close by him, near him, and hugged him, letting him rest his head against her shoulder, his face buried in her hair, until all sense of wanting to cry dropped away.

Stella was a special person to the Medical Examiner, as she was, to him, a good, dear friend who seemed to give him a never ending amount of friendly smiles, kind words, and most of all, unquestioning support. She knew he was lying when he mentioned a supposed dinner with his wife and daughters, or a trip to the zoo. She nodded all the same, and let him keep up the pretence of pretending to have a family, so that people in the lab, and in the morgue, who knew him less well, would not feel sorry for him, and would leave him alone. Despite that, he had never really, in so many words, explained to her what had happened to him all those years ago. She knew someone close to him, probably a partner, had died, and that he had lost more than one person, and that such deaths had something to do with an accident. She really, even knew that it probably had been nine eleven that had caused him such grief, but, yet, despite that, he hadn’t chosen to extend on such already given information. She had been there at the lab a while, so, she probably knew more than he had let on, and perhaps Mac had seen, in good confidence, to tell her things that he had not, but, all the same, he wasn’t sure what she knew, and had not feel inclined, in the past, to let on any more factual words to her.

However, after seeing him in the break room, he had invited her over for a meal and a quiet word. The meal bit he knew, but, the quiet words, he wasn’t quite sure of, wasn’t quite prepared for. A meal before conversation usually prolonged the agony anyway, but that was how he had wanted it, needed it, to be. He could not bear the weight that delicate, intricate, saddened words would add to the feeling, the very taste, of a wonderfully prepared meal. As such, he had chosen to leave them until coffee afterwards.

She had been a wonderful dinner guest, watching him with inquisitive eyes as he, most excitedly, explained the difference between different Chinese vegetables, as well as the importance of a good sambal olek. He had made her help him stir a fine glaze like sauce in a saucepan, and had handed him the knife that he then used to cut the fish he had bought, into fillets. And, when, after eating a fine, delicately flavoured meal of fried rice and deliciously spiced fish, he had decided to put together a rather impromptu dessert, she had offered to wash up and put the dishes into the dishwasher. She did not ask why there were children’s drawings in frames, or why many of the ornaments on his shelves had the present air of a woman’s touch and desire. She was perfect.

Coffee, though, had turned into more wine than actual coffee, when he had declared with rather surprising conviction, that he would pay for her taxi home if she needed one, in the end. She could see it, and he knew it. He was trying so hard to impress her, trying, so hard, to be, to act, to appear, normal to her, and not look like a complete nut bag.

And so, there he was, a barefooted, barely drunk man, in the entranceway to his lounge room, looking at the most beautiful woman he had seen in a long time, who had just asked him a question about his dead wife. She had said think, not miss, right?

The Medical Examiner looked the woman squarely in the eye, remembering fondly how nice her hair had smelt, that other day, and how nice her perfume smelt now. Daises, lilacs, roses, lavender, all in one. She had a most eclectic scent, just like Marianne had. Something that was intrinsically personal and beautiful, and not entirely due to the perfume that she wore.

He sighed, his head dropping, his smile fading, his eyes darkening briefly, and then flashing with a most impressive resilience as he took up the CSI’s gaze once more. What they were doing was illicit, dangerous, wasn’t it?

“I still think about her, every other day, well, everyday really. Don’t think I’m obsessed, Stella, but, my wife, Marianne, she was my real, true, other half. She finished my sentences, shared my bizarre tastes, accepted my, desire to be just as different as she was. The moment I set eyes on her when we were so young, I knew, and she knew, that we would, and could, be together forever, no matter what. She was the popular, pretty girl, who everyone wanted to be, the smart one that they looked up to, and I was the hideous glasses wearing freak geek who knew the inner workings of frogs, and comic books, an all that.” the man said, trailing off when he realised that she probably, really, didn’t want to hear that much history, that much information, about his dead, deceased, wife.

“I still miss her, if that’s what you wanted to ask. I really, really do, because, she was something more than completion, something more than life itself, and I, I was lucky enough to have been called her partner, her lover, her other half, her mate.” The Medical Examiner continued, afterwards, landing on his feet and pausing to take a deep drink of the heavy red liquid in his wineglass.

Stella stopped his babbling by taking the few steps forward that were needed to reach him and pressing her finger against his lips.

“I know what it’s like.” she said quietly, her voice almost a whisper, and then stopped, her eyes contemplating, her brow furrowed.

“Well, not really, but, I know the feeling, of missing someone you love. Mac has, Peyton, and, he doesn’t need me, doesn’t want me.” the CSI continued, just as quietly, stopping herself when the man took a step back and smiled, slightly, sadly.

“It hurts more than anything, doesn’t it? More than fire, or ice, or, being cold, or burning hot. More than desire, more than anything you can, or could have, ever imagined. And the worst thing is, you can’t do a thing about it, except let it eat away at you, at your soul, until you feel empty, and hollow, and...” Sid said, and continued to speak.

“Alone.” The two people, the Medical Examiner and the CSI said, in unison, and, still together, they smiled.
 
 
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