Episode 220 Transcript

Episode 220
By Lauren Shippen

[sfx: iPhone voice memo beep]

Sam: Hi Mark, it’s me. Sam. It’s Sam. I don’t know where you are or how you would ever hear this but I just- I miss talking to you. I miss you. Did you ever watch Gilmore Girls? Me and mom used to watch it all the time and then after she- well, I kept watching and I would, you know,  go to her grave and tell her what happened in the last season. Probably yet another reason why I didn’t have any friends in high school.

Anyway, there’s this one season where Lorelei and Rory get into a fight and they don’t talk for months. And Lorelei keeps thinking of stuff that she wants to tell Rory but she can’t so she just writes them all down on scraps of paper and puts them in a hat box. And when she and Rory do make up, she can’t remember what half the notes are referring to because her handwriting is messy and all the references make no sense out of context.

Anyway, I keep thinking of things I want to say to you. Or I’ll see something on the side of the road that I think you’d want to take a picture of and I can’t take a picture myself or write it down because I have to keep my hands on the wheel-

Oh yeah, I’m driving. I bought a car. And I’m driving it. Sorry, I know you wanted to teach me but I think it was time for me to take matters into my own hands. I sat around my apartment for almost two weeks after- I thought if I kept still, if I stayed inside, I wouldn’t keep going back to 1810 but it didn’t work. No matter what I did, I kept going back and you weren’t there. God, I didn’t think it was possible for me to find another level of loneliness but-

I’m sorry. I’m not trying to make you feel bad. It isn’t your fault. It’s mine. And your sister’s and Damien’s. You shouldn’t trust him. I don’t know where you guys are but you shouldn’t trust him. You’re a smart guy. You’ll figure that out.

So anyway, a few weeks ago I quit my job and bought this car and got my license and now I’m driving. I’m looking for you. I know it’s a long shot, I have so little to go on but Dr. Bri- Joan gave me a picture of you and all the info on the van and, I mean, it’s not like we can get the police involved so I’m doing it. I'm going from town to town, showing your picture, asking if anyone’s seen you. The chances I find you are not good, I realize that, and driving is still terrifying but it beats sitting at home feeling sorry for myself.

So anyway, I’ve been listening to podcasts on my drive. I bought one of those fancy new cars that has wifi in it - oh yeah, that’s a thing now, that they do with cars, you probably didn’t know that - anyway so I’ve been listening to tons of stuff to try and keep my mind off things. And I started to listen to this fiction one, Alice Isn’t Dead. It’s a little scary for me. I can only really listen in the middle of the day but basically it’s about this truck driver who’s looking for her missing wife. And the whole time she’s driving, she’s talking to her wife like she’s there. And I just thought that it’d be nice - to say the stuff to you that I wanted to say to you, instead of writing it down, and then- and then, I don't know, maybe when we see each other again, you can listen and it will be like we took the road trip together after all. 

God, is that dumb? It sounds really dumb, right? Well, it’s something to do, I guess. Alright, I’ve got to pull off the highway now and get gas. But, I’ll talk to you soon? Or, I mean, I'll record more of these and you'll listen someday? No, you know what? I'll talk to you soon. 

[sfx: iPhone voice memo beep]

Sam: Okay, so, I realize that my last message makes it sound like you’re my missing wife? Which is- look, I’m not trying to suggest anything by that or- I mean, I know we haven’t really talked that much about us - not that there is an us but I kind of got the impression that maybe there could be and- Ugh, sorry, I should maybe just stop recording-

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Sam: The thing is: you called me an “amazing woman”. You know, when you were with Damien, in the van? And I know that you were pretty out of it, you know, having just woken up from the coma and everything but still, you said “amazing woman” so I just thought that maybe- ugh.

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Sam: You know what? This isn’t even completely about you. I don’t want you thinking I quit my job and started galavanting around the country just for you. I mean, I am looking for you, I’m taking this seriously but it’s just- I needed to change something in my life. And I mean, I guess I did that when I started seeing Dr. Bright and getting control of my ability but...

I’m not sure I would have actually ever done anything with it. I keep thinking about that session I had after I saw the accident again - I was so convinced that I could go back and save my parents. And maybe I can - maybe, I can get really, really good at this. But there’s something in my gut that keeps telling me it’s not possible. That it isn’t possible to mess with time and space that much.

But saving you- and I know it all went pear-shaped because Joan and I got too carried away to actually stop and think about what we were doing - but I still got you out of there. I did save you. I did something good with this horrible aspect of my life that I’d all but given up on. And that’s not for nothing. I’ve been sleepwalking through my life - just waiting for the other shoe to drop, to get stuck, or to hurt someone again, or for someone to find out about me and lock me up and experiment on me- god, I'm sorry.

Working with Joan, and meeting you, and saving you it- it woke me up. It gave me a purpose - showed me that I’m worth existing in this time. You showed me that. So thank you, I guess.

Didn’t I start by saying this wasn’t about you? I guess it is in that way that people you meet in your life can change you. And it doesn’t mean that you’re defined by them. They just act as a catalyst. You were my catalyst. And now, maybe, I get to be yours.

I’m not any closer to tracking you down but I know wherever you are, you must be sleepwalking too. You don’t know what’s real, who to trust, if your sister is everything Damien says she is. Which, she’s not, by the way. And I’m guessing you still think you made me up. And that’s gotta be messing with your head. But I’m going to find you. And I’m going to wake you up. Again.

Because that’s who I am now. In my life post-you, post-Joan. I am a person who leaves her cat with her therapist and crosses the state border for the first time in ten years to try and outsmart a man who could literally do whatever he wanted to anyone. I’m the knight who’s going to save the prince from the dragon. God, sorry, that’s stupid. But that’s how I feel. I’m not scared anymore. I mean, well, no, I’m still scared by a lot of things - things in the past - but the future doesn’t scare me so much anymore. Moving forward through time doesn’t scare me.

I asked you once what you were afraid of. After I told you about the things I’ve seen. And you got this look on your face - one hadn’t seen before and you went so quiet. Minutes went by and you didn’t answer. And then I left before you could. Although, maybe you never would have.

What are you afraid of, Mark? What couldn’t you tell me?

[sfx: iPhone voice memo beep]

[sfx: iPhone voice memo beep]

Sam: Hey. Sorry I haven’t recorded one of these in a while. I mean, not that it will make much of a difference in the end to you. You can just listen to them in one fell swoop. Or, I don’t know, maybe I can drive you back home and we can listen along the way - kind of, re-enact the trip.

Actually, never mind, I don’t want to sit in a car with you listening to my own voice. That- that sounds terrible. Anyway, it’s been 61 days since you got out of The AM. 61 days. And I’ve been away for 40 of those maybe? The more time passes, the more I drive...

I’ve been taking a lot of trips recently. It’s been. It hasn’t been good, Mark. I forgot what being alone this much was like. I guess I’d gotten so used to talking to Dr. Bright every week and then seeing Chloe. I miss Chloe so much. I would say it’s ridiculous to feel that close to someone you’ve known for a few months but, well, I mean, you and I only spent...what? A few weeks together at most? Granted, it was 24 hours a day when we were together but- anyway. I guess circumstance breeds intimacy or something. That sounds like something your sister would say.

I’ve talked to her, and Chloe, on the phone but- well, it’s not really the same, is it? When you can’t see someone’s face it’s easy to pretend that everything’s okay. I know that’s what they’re doing. They tell me everything’s fine, that I deserve
this vacation - however weird and maudlin it is - and that I shouldn’t worry. But they’re lying. I know that things aren’t going well back home. Joan’s been spending a lot of time at The AM and Chloe has started junior year of college and she’s having to make up for all her incomplete credits from last year...

I want to be there for them, I do but I don’t know how. I haven’t had anyone rely on me for support in a long, long time. Maybe ever. I mean, no one really relies on you when you’re a kid, you know? Not in a big way.

So anyway, I am taking a break at the moment from driving. I can’t really drive and record anymore. It’s- I get too nervous and the last thing I want to do is cause another accident. I’ve been pulling over a lot. Like right now. I’m on the side of the highway, trying to calm down, so that I can drive to somewhere with a bed and get some actual sleep. Nothing was working - none of the mindfulness or meditation exercises that Joan’s taught me, the crickets are too loud to clear my mind, so I’m talking to you. It’s comforting. Even though you're not here. It's comforting in the way that talking to my parents’ graves is comforting.

Oh god, I didn't mean to- God, I keep saying the wrong things. Maybe I won’t let you listen to any of these after all. There’s no reason to wallow with past me when you have present me to cheer you up, right? I’m good at that aren’t I? I remember the first time I made you laugh - like, really, really laugh. It felt like an accomplishment. I remember thinking, if I can do this, if I can be good at making this person laugh, then I have a place in the world. I don't know.

So right now I am sitting outside in absolute middle of absolutely nowhere, looking up at the stars. And they’re beautiful- I’m far enough from a major city that you can actually see them. And all I can think about is that anybody else would be awed by the sheer amount and brightness of them. But I’ve seen the night sky before satellites, before there were cities, before electricity was invented, before human beings. And I have to say, it doesn’t compare .

Do you remember what the stars looked like in 1810? Of course you do; you probably got sick of looking at them every night. For the past few years, I hadn’t bothered to look up at the night sky on my trips. Nothing was new anymore. But lying in that sheep meadow that you liked, looking up at the stars with you- it was like seeing it for the first time again. And I try to find the differences between that sky and the sky in our present while you pointed at constellations and made up names for them - I think you were just picking random words that you liked saying out loud - the boondoggle constellation, snuffulupugus maximus- the most ridiculous things come out of your mouth, do you know that? I love it. 

And then there was the Sam constellation. The one shaped like an clock a little bit - you thought you were so clever. I don’t know if you remember telling me this but you said you looked at it sometimes when I wasn’t there. And you tried to imagine me looking up at the same sky, thinking of you. It made you less lonely. You said that to me on one of last nights before I pulled you out. That I made you less lonely. 

I looked up the constellation to try and find it - the Sam constellation. A few of the stars aren’t there anymore. I'm not sure what to make of that.

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