There's no way to explain it. No way to describe the feeling. Very few have ever had it, and they were never really big on the explanations either. So that I can't tell you what it's like, that really shouldn't be a big surprise, should it? But I'm going to try, because you should know. You all want to know. But I'll have to use a metaphor, because that's all we have to work with, except, I can't think of a good one. So bad metaphor it is.
It's like being wrapped up in something familiar and loving...like a coat, only...a living coat. It knows you. It holds you, and you feel truly at peace for the first time. You can still see the world, only it insulates you from everything, so you can watch and not be bothered too much by what you see. You sort of relax in that feeling of peace and contentment and it protects you, mostly. It's funny, you never really think about what it would be like if it wasn't there, because it is and it always has been.
Except while you're alive.
That's not right, because it's there in life, too. But mostly you can't feel it. You're stuck facing the cold and the lonely, the pain, the emotional storms, alone, unprotected. It's so hard, and we don't even know why it's so hard. That's why we fall in love, why we cling to each other, because it's the closest we can come to what we don't even know we've lost.
I can't even imagine what it feels like to be ripped out of there. I think we could apologize to Buffy every second of every day for eternity and it wouldn't be enough. I know some of how she feels. Everything here is strange and different and often cruel, not soft, not muted, not peaceful. I wince at the hard way my feet hit the ground when I walk. I cringe at the neon signs, the car horns, the blood and death and harshness of this world.
I miss heaven so much, but at least I know why I left. I chose to come back here, to this world, to this life. Because there's a girl, a very special girl, a girl who meant everything to me once, a girl whose pain moved me even there. Willow needed me. I can't really explain how I got back here. Not even a bad metaphor for that. I just...left.
How can something that impossible be that simple? You'll understand it someday. Maybe I will too.
All I know now is I left. I'm back. I'm alive. And it's tough, but it'll be okay. Willow's with me. We can love each other. We can cling to each other.
It's close enough for now.
Tara. Coat. Future shock.