girls on film
Wonderful invention, the videocamera. Film. D.W. Griffith, heck of a man. A visionary, that's what he was, thinking up something like capturing a moving image and saving it for future generations. Comes in handy. Take tonight, for example. Faith's going to see me again, no matter what. Not even that bloodthirsty little hellcat Buffy can stop that now.
I'm going to see you again as well. I promised, didn't I? You know how I feel about keeping promises.
I'd always planned on bringing you back. Never, ever doubted that I'd see you again, because as far as I was concerned it was concrete. Hooked up, as the kids say nowadays. Death, taxes, and the little wife, the three certainties in this life....
How many times did I wish I'd had a videocamera around back in the good ol' days. Back when you were with me... young... lovely. You were lovely. I told you every day, but I guess it wasn't near enough. Even when you were nothing but a pair of shiny little raccoon eyes, glaring at me from that face that was almost as white as the pillow was. Even when you'd become sagged and liverspotted... you were beautiful, Edna. Never mind what I said to those kids. You were always the prettiest picture.
I had one picture. One solitary, lonely tintype, tucked away in my watch. That's all you left me with. I used to take it out, when all the interns had gone home for the night, when I could sit and have a glass of scotch in peace. One tiny oval photograph, ambered and blurry, to get me through a century of lonely nights. You (in your youth thank goodness), your eyes still bright, your face still smooth...and that incredible mouth. Perfect, pink, soft...
A photo doesn't move, Edna. It doesn't sing or dance the way you used to. That's how I remembered you for the longest time -- that day in the cherry orchard, you were so happy and surprised. Cherry blossoms -- they don't grow in California, but I made them grow, by golly. Just for you. They were falling off the branches, little pink petals floating in the breeze, and you took off your hat and twirled in them, laughing in the sun.
Boy oh boy, I wish I'd had a videocamera.
Photos just aren't the same. It occured to me tonight, seeing Faith lying so still like that -- I should have taken videos of her, too. Should have had both my girls on film. You never get enough pictures of your kids, you think you have all the time in the world... and then tragedy strikes, and it's too late. It's true what they say... those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
Doomed. Now there's a downright gloomy word.
I had everything planned, you know. I was going to rise, I'd heal Faith, I'd crush the Slayer into a little grease spot, and then I'd bring you back. See, you thought I was just being selfish, going through with all this, didn't you? Impractical, you said? Well, we'd have just seen how impractical you called it once you were standing before me in all your glory, the belle of the ball once again. Yes, sir.
Although... I guess it would have been a little tricky for you to say much of anything. Having no head and all.
Are you still upset about that? Of course you'd have a right to be. I couldn't help it, Edna. No matter how wrinkled you'd become... I couldn't stand the thought of your face, your lovely mouth, down in that grave with all those worms and dirt... no sir. Couldn't have that.
So I took your head off. Tucked it right in my liquor cabinet, safe and snug. You were with me every single day of those years, watching me... keeping an eye on me, making sure I stayed faithful, weren't you? Never fear, my dear... you were always the only girl for me.
Oh, I'll be seeing both my best girls again, soon enough.
I'm only writing this -- and when was the last time I wrote your name? With those fun metal ink drippers they used to manufacture, remember those pens? The great-granddaddy to the ball-point? So much has changed, Edna, I was looking forward to introducing you to it all--
I'm only writing this now to cover corners, I guess. I spoke with Faith for the last time tonight... and now I'm speaking to you. Even though I'll be seeing you soon enough. Tomorrow... either I'll rise, and raise you, and I'll kill the Slayer besides. Or she'll kill me.
You know, I really don't like negative thoughts, but...
Goodnight, my dear. I'll be with you tomorrow... one way or another.
your faithful Richard
d e a d l e t t e r s h o m e