July 13, 2013
I’m still trying to absorb just how blind I have been lately; how blind we all have been and selfish. It has seemed perfectly normal to go about our daily routine and not really realizing that one of our most beloved members, the only woman who keeps me whole in every way possible, has been feeling like she is no longer needed. Even worse, she feels like “part of the furniture.” The fact that I’m writing this at all is amazing considering this woman; my wife is still not here. She’s still not home. As I know all of you know more than me about this as she had written it down; I will tell you what happened from where she left off.
3 days after that hunting trip I had finally decided to go back to the hospital. I had a whole week off, and it was actually Esme who called the hospital and spoke to Bill about my taking the time off. She told him that I was helping lift some furniture and a piece slipped, spraining my arm pretty badly. Bill told her that it was not a problem and even laughed when she said that she would staple my trousers to the floor in order for me to not go to work. I wasn’t going to go against her wishes; I liked all of my pants in one piece, thank you very much!
That morning I got dressed and was very happy to be returning to work. I hugged and kissed Esme on my way out of the door. She seemed a bit more quiet then usual, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. I walked out and, without looking back, got into my car and drove away. Hindsight is 20/20 and how I wish now that I had looked back. Would I have seen her pain? Would she have shown it to me?
I worked a full 9 hour day and had quite the variety of patients. Charlotte was back from her honeymoon and we took some time during lunch to talk about it and how much she appreciated everything Alice did for her. We were in a good mood even though we were both in the ER that day. And boy did we have a zoo and a half in there. First of all, 3 teenage girls were brought in handcuffed to their respective gurneys because they’d apparently attacked another girl who finally got the nerve to fight back and she had hit them all with her tennis racket. She was also at the hospital because they had actually stabbed her. How she still managed to defend herself is beyond me.
After that we had 5 (not kidding) women go into labor within 7 minutes of each other; 2 were delivered via C-section. The others were natural births, one of which had quadruplets. After all of that, we had a few mentally ill people who had gone off their medication come in to be readjusted or sent to the psych ward for evaluation. One of them was convinced that I was a walking tree and that I had a tail which he was trying to grab; that was a new one for me, I have to admit.
I then changed back into my regular clothes and went home, when I got there it was still relatively light outside. All of the cars were in the driveway, so I parked mine and walked into the house where most of my family was lounging around in one way shape or form. All of the Watchers were conspicuously absent, though we knew they disappeared from time to time to do whatever. I didn’t give it much thought and went upstairs to change out of my office clothes into comfortable home clothes and my favorite loafers.
Expecting to see Esme in our master suite, I was surprised to find the rooms empty. As I changed, I felt that something was off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Needless to say, I went downstairs and joined my family who were all doing some various form of debating. Some were talking about parties while others—especially the men—were talking politics. I sat down in my favorite chair and took out that day’s brand new NYT and started to read. I don’t know how much time had passed because I had already reached the business section of the paper when I heard Bella speak up.
“Um, where’s Esme?” she inquired.
Everyone looked around, quite obvious that she wasn’t in the room with us.
“Well she isn’t in the kitchen,” said Jacob, emerging from that room with a plate full of food.
“She isn’t anywhere in the house,” Edward noted, his eyes narrowing and as he listened.
“I did see her car parked out front when I got home,” I said, puzzled.
Nessie frowned. “Yeah, but the car hasn’t moved at all since you left for work, Grandpa.”
“What? What do you mean it hasn’t moved? I saw her this morning around 6 a.m., when I left for work.” A gnawing feeling started in my stomach.
“So what you’re all trying to say is that no one has seen her since?” Rose asked.
Rose then got up and headed toward the phone. She called the Denali’s, who said she wasn’t with them. Then Rose called Esme’s own cellphone, which we heard go off in the house, when we located it; it was lying on the table by the front door beside her purse which held all of her things, including her ID, credit cards, driver’s license, and whatever else a woman usually carries in her purse. She even left the keys to the house. We all stood there in absolute shock.
“She’s gone! She’s left all of her things and she’s gone! What if she never comes back?” Nessie whispered horrified. Bella soothed her but her face was incredibly worried.
Nessie’s words mirrored my thoughts, which were now in a bunch of different places. What if something bad happened to her? What if Ferguson had more men and she was kidnapped somehow? Where was she? And if she was kidnapped, knowing Esme she would have left some sort of a sign to show us how to find her, but she hadn’t. It’s as if she disappeared without a trace . . . on purpose. Which made me feel even worse. Why would my wife leave our family? Now the absence of every single Watcher was something that was weighing heavily on my mind.
“Alice can you see anything? Can you see where she is? Is she safe?” Edward asked.
Alice concentrated but shook her head. “I can’t see her at all. It is literally as though she fell off the edge of the earth.”
“Dear lord, if we only knew that she was all right. That’s all that matters,” I said, sinking into a chair with my head and face in my hands all but hunched over. The rest of the family sat down all with tears in their eyes.
“She is fine.”
A voice echoed from what seemed like the entire room which snapped all of us to attention. Just then a light appeared in our doorway to the living room. The light dissipated to reveal Rogue. I knew then that my thoughts were confirmed that the Watchers had something to do with Esme’s disappearances, or vice versa.
“Vice versa,” Rogue said, reading my mind. Her face was blank but at the same it held a very disappointed expression, as if she was disappointed in all of us.
“Please Rogue, tell us what happened? Where is she? Why did she leave?” I asked.
“Do you really want to know?”
“Of course,” Bella answered.
With that, Rogue produced two sheets of paper and handed them to me. I gasped as I realized they were in Esme’s handwriting. My family gathered all around me so they could also read her words. There was instant sobbing. How could we have not seen this? Rogue had basically handed us the entry you folks read last. I felt like my dead heart was being ripped out of my chest.
As we all came to terms with the fact that our beloved matriarch felt left out and insignificant to the family and how she felt being taken for granted and felt invisible to all but me of course. Even Emmett, who almost never shows any vulnerable emotions, was blinking through tears trying very hard not to show anyone. The emotion radiating throughout the room was pain and guilt; and it wasn’t even Jasper’s handiwork. Jasper was having a difficult enough time controlling his own emotions, let alone trying to fix others. Rogue just stood there watching everyone digest what they just read.
Then she walked over to where our surround sound stereo system was and produced a CD that she then inserted into the little CD slot. Music started to play softly.
Before we could ask anything she said, “Esme also asked me to play this song for you, and for all of you to listen very carefully to the lyrics.”
Then she turned the song up; it was Jewel’s song “Hands”; the link for which is provided below. We listened to the song as we’ve known it from the previous two decades, but this time the words really hit home. It was as though Esme was crying out through that song for us to see her and acknowledge her. My heart broke all over again.
“I’ve known about Esme’s plan since the very beginning,” Rogue informed us. “I also asked her to let me know when she wanted to do it so that I could cover her thoughts so none of you could read them or even locate her. The reason for her leaving isn’t just to see if anyone would miss her; it’s also a journey of self-discovery. She wants to know who she really is. Everything here isn’t good enough anymore. She is her own individual and she wants to know exactly who that individual is. So she decided to go on a soul-searching journey across the country to see all the beautiful things nature has to offer and to think and find herself. I’ve shadowed her the entire time so I know she’s fine. In fact, I was very proud of her when she ran into a nomad somewhere in Kansas or Arkansas or Colorado . . . one of those states.”
I gasped at that last part. Esme encountered a nomad on her own? She must have been terribly scared, I thought.
But Rogue shook her head. “The nomad was from south of the border and was trying to find his way up north into Canada somewhere and must have gotten lost along the way, so he literally asked her for directions. She was very polite and efficient in her answers. I could see he was intrigued by her, and even asked her to join him as he figured what would a woman be doing running around here alone. But she made it perfectly clear that she was married and going to visit her cousins in Alaska. I thought I would have to intervene but she handled herself like a seasoned veteran as she wished the nomad all the best and sprinted on her way. Of course all of this was after she nearly decapitated me with a hay bale!” Rogue smiled at the memory.
We were still trying to absorb everything Rogue had told us about how Esme handled herself with the nomad. And I cursed at myself; how could I have doubted her? Of course she could take care of herself. There I went again making her seem meek when she really was strong and self-reliant.
Rose and I remembered something Rogue said. “Wait, I called the Denali’s and they said she wasn’t there and they hadn’t heard anything from her,” Rose said, her eyebrows raising.
“Of course they didn’t know because she never warned them she was coming. This was to be a surprise visit. And if my calculations are correct she should be already either arriving there or already there.”
“But if you said you were shadowing her the whole time, clearly you can’t be in two places at the same time,” Emmett added, and Rogue smiled.
“Amy’s with her right now. I have a second and third in command for a reason.”
We nodded; made sense.
“Hang on a second,” Jacob said. “Did you say she nearly decapitated you with a hay bale?”
Jacob stole my question. We all looked extremely puzzled while Rogue laughed.
“Yes, your wife is quite the character when she lets loose which is apparently something that she doesn’t do that often around here, for whatever reason.” When our eyes looked pained, she shook her head and continued. “So as she was running along in Ohio or Kansas, don’t remember which, I made the mistake of becoming more or less corporeal. That’s when she was running through an open field and decided to kick some of those hay bales around. To make a long story short, she kicked one at me with such force; I literally dodged out of the way at the last minute. She hadn’t realized I was so close to her and after the fact she was horrified for a split second then fell to the ground in a fit of giggles. I couldn’t really keep a straight face, either, to tell you the truth. After that passed, we continued on our way; every time we passed what looked like a hay bale she would let out a little giggle.”
We all looked at Rogue with eyes bugging out of our heads I’m sure. Then her phone vibrated. A text message, which she looked at and smiled. She nodded to us. That meant Esme was now firmly encased with our cousins and Amy was returning home.
“But when will she be back?” Nessie asked pointedly. We all wanted to know.
“Well, a good part of that depends on you guys. You need to take these days and really think about what she means to you, Carlisle excluded. That one is kind of obvious. Because when she does decide to come home, there has to be some sort of discussion or explanation about how things will be different around here. She of course has to be ready to come home and at this moment in time she isn’t. She would have gotten to the Denali’s earlier if she hadn’t decided to take the scenic route. She really wanted to make the most of her journey as she saw the beauty surrounding her. This was her way of doing something for herself and not having to worry what anyone else thought or needed from her. I can tell you that she enjoyed her trip there very much. She was even thinking of taking a dip in the Bering Sea prior to going to the Denali’s but there was a hurricane and she didn’t want to deal with that. So now you know all of it.”
Surprisingly it was Emmett who spoke next. “Esme’s right everyone. We have been neglecting and treating her like she’s just supposed to give us stuff. She doesn’t owe us squat. It’s actually vice versa. She makes this and every other place we’ve lived in a home, not just a house with rooms. She feeds the mutts delicious food. She teaches everyone different things and makes our lives warm and comfortable. I know I for one don’t remember the last time I said thank you to her for something she did. Do you?” Emmett wrapped up his monologue with a question that had everyone thinking and a lot of people wide-eyed shaking their heads no.
“We’re really bad people,” Nessie said softly as Jacob hugged her.
“No, Nessie. We aren’t bad people. We are just inconsiderate people. We are so used to just doing things and running out the door we never stop and think where it comes from and who gave or brought it to us in the first place,” Alice said wisely.
“I think the only one who has consistently regarded and made Esme feel comfortable and like she belonged and cared for was surprisingly Jake,” Bella pointed out.
Jacob who usually hated being put on the spot looked up at everyone and said, “That’s right. And you wanna know why? Because I lost my mother when I was a young kid. Esme has been the closest thing I had to a real mother since then. I will always cherish that. No matter whether she cooks enough food to feed an army; it’s not about the food.” He paused. “OK, some of it is about the food. But mostly is that even before we all became one lovey dovey family, she still always treated me and the rest of the wolves with respect and dignity. So that’s why I can honestly say that I love Esme as if she was my own mom.”
Rogue left us all to our own devices so we could figure out how to proceed next. One thing was for sure: Esme wasn’t coming home until she was good and ready. The Denali’s were told about everything and they agreed she needed some away time. I, meanwhile, felt like a zombie. It was nearly 1 a.m. by then and I had work the following morning; people had to get some sleep—those that could sleep, that is. The rest of us just went back to our rooms to figure out what to do next and how to fix this one giant bad action or decision. We decided to regroup the following morning to discuss how to proceed. I guess we were all going to find out the hard way, would we be able to live without Esme and for how long? I wanted her back this second. But the others really needed to realize this more than me.
As I prepared to take a bath, I couldn’t even pour my favorite lavender bubble bath in as that was something we would always do together. Small things like that I missed. Her laugh when I would tell her a joke, our quiet afternoons in the backyard on the swing or the hammock; even our times hunting together. I guess one never realizes how much a person means to them or when they create memories until that person is no longer around. With those memories in mind, I walked out to the backyard to stare at the sky.
So while I sit here in the backyard not even wanting to go back inside and stare at the stars, I’m wondering what she’s thinking about. I’m wondering if she will come back soon.
But mostly, I just want to tell you guys to cherish your loved ones; be it friends, family, or a combination of both. You never know when your lack of attention will hurt that person enough to make them go away. Though I know in my heart of hearts, Esme will return to us, perhaps in your case it won’t be that easy. Do not take anyone for granted . . . ever. Love, respect, thank and cherish each other; each day and each moment. People aren’t just objects you can come and use when you deem necessary and then toss back into the other choice pile. Because I don’t want my family’s heartache to be felt by any of you. Always remember that saying: “You may lose the moon while counting the stars.”
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Link to song “Hands” by Jewel: