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Living Loz
The Heart Can Bind Itself 
9th-Jul-2011 10:05 pm
Life on Mars (Sam Outsider)
Title: The Heart Can Bind Itself
Fandom: Life on Mars
Rating: PG
Word Count: 490 words.
Notes: This was supposed to be a story for the “Happy Endings” challenge on 1973flashfic. It very much isn’t that. Gen. Title from Matthew Arnold’s Isolation: To Marguerite.
Summary: This truth --- to prove, and make thine own: "Thou hast been, shalt be, art, alone."

It took four years before Sam noticed he wasn’t growing any older. It took considerably longer to realise he wasn’t growing any wiser either. The days slipped out from under him, in trickles and drips and drabs, or fierce floods, depending on the month, and he continued on. He secured convictions, but the court cases never eventuated, he fought with Gene, but the next day they were friends, he asked Annie out on dates, but something somehow always got in the way. And he didn’t really think about it. It didn’t occur to him to wonder if maybe he should be worried.

It took four years, and within those four years, Sam didn’t notice that nothing progressed. Nothing got better, nothing got worse. The seasons cycled, but from year to year there were no more blooms in the flowerbeds, no fewer leaves on the trees. Sun or no sun, clouds or no clouds, no change at all, really. Just empty endlessness, stretching on in eternity. And though at first he didn’t mind that every little battle he waged would reappear the next day, never won, though he didn’t care that Ray and Chris were an unchanging double-act in an unchanging world, though none of this struck him as particularly odd --- the truth of these remained.

Four years of the same, incessant conversation. Four years of the same, unrelenting concerns. Four years of staring at the same face --- exactly the same face --- in the mirror every morning. And it was all right. Until, of course, Sam saw and realised. And it was all wrong.

No more lines around his eyes, that was the thing. No greying hair. He hadn’t filled out, or thinned out, or developed any visible scars. His teeth were as they ever were, his eyes not haunted with regret. Once this was clear, everything else became obvious too. The fact that Gene had only stock phrases that got recycled, sometimes despite the circumstances, that Annie always kept him at a distance, that no one around them got married, or had children, or died, even. That every time he met someone new they were a suspect or a witness, and never became anything more. That every night he went home alone to a shithole of a flat.

It took another three years before Sam finally wised up. He tested the boundaries of his existence, the existence of his boundaries. He forgot that he was supposed to love this place and the people within it, that this had been his choice. He called it his trap. No one else understood, but no one else could, could they, because the no was most apt in their description.

It took four years before Sam noticed he wasn’t growing any older. It took considerably longer to realise he wasn’t growing any wiser. And by the time he did, he’d lost the will, so he may as well give up.
9th-Jul-2011 03:10 pm (UTC)
No, not a happy ending. In fact, a particularly bleak view of the fading away of Sam Tyler. I suppose one can only hope that there was something more... fulfilling? Desired? after this limbo.
10th-Jul-2011 06:47 am (UTC)
Thank you ♥

Hmm, I wonder.
9th-Jul-2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
Very bleak, but nicely done, Loz ♥
10th-Jul-2011 06:39 am (UTC)
Thanks, Hambel!
(Deleted comment)
10th-Jul-2011 06:38 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I've seen the film, but not read the book. The only thing I've read of Gaiman's is Good Omens.
10th-Jul-2011 03:39 am (UTC)
This is sad and extremely disturbing. Also, possibly very darkly hilarious. I'll confess to snerking when I read: he asked Annie out on dates, but something somehow always got in the way.

On the whole, though, it was both scary and depressingly plausible.

So of course I loved it :-D
10th-Jul-2011 06:36 am (UTC)
That made me snerk too. Erm, we're horrible people? The rest of it's definitely depressing as fuck, though.

Thank you! ♥ I opened up word to write something happy and ended up with this.
10th-Jul-2011 05:54 am (UTC)
There's a horribly vivid feeling of apathy in this; the sense that, after all that fighting, Sam has merely folded in on himself, just like the world he inhabits. A scarily plausible reading of his 'forever', thank you for this.
10th-Jul-2011 06:27 am (UTC)

Thank you! Apathy was certainly what came to mind when I started to type.
10th-Jul-2011 06:40 am (UTC)
Oh, Loz. You write dark so well. Scarily well. ♥

10th-Jul-2011 06:47 am (UTC)
Thank you.

(Deleted comment)
11th-Jul-2011 12:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you ♥
13th-Jul-2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
Thought this was great, really atmospheric and thought provoking as well.
18th-Jul-2011 01:06 am (UTC)
Thank you ♥
18th-Jul-2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
Bleak but wonderfully done.
24th-Aug-2011 09:29 am (UTC)
Thank you :)
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