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406 pages, Hardcover
First published November 28, 2017
If Lottie hadn’t died, I never would have known Xander.
For the past year I’ve been searching for answers that I may never find. That may not even exist. No matter how many times I look at all the information, no matter how many times I replay January 1st, 10:05 a.m., in my head, Lottie’s death may never make sense to me.
I blow out a frustrated breath. “But we can’t just stop here. Don’t you want to know? You said this was one of your big problems. Don’t you want to solve it? Get to the truth? You’re a scientist! Aren’t scientists obsessed with finding answers?” And there they are again. Those inquisitive eyes of his. That calm, observing gaze. Except this time, there’s something else in there too. Empathy. “Yes, we are,” Troy says in his usual blunt tone. “But as a scientist, you also need to know when to let go and accept the fact that sometimes there are no answers.”
”Just read the message, Ryn. Stop avoiding your feelings and read the damn message! Look, it’s easy.” His finger plunges toward the screen, and it may as well be a knife plunging into my heart.
“Nooooooo!” I scream, causing a few sleeping passengers around us to stir. But it’s too late. He’s done it. He’s clicked it. He’s reading it. It’s read. It will never be unread again.
But this isn’t drawing. At least not like any drawing I’ve ever done before. This is an outpouring. This is a release. These are all the lines and all the shadows and all the shapes that have been trapped inside me for almost a year. That have been following me around wherever I go. Waiting to be made real. This is like something moving through me, piloting my hand, emptying my mind until everything around me disappears. The room. The snow. The people. Even Xander. This is trying to catch water from a pitcher in a thimble. This is a year’s worth of demons channeled into a fragile piece of paper. This is me finally breathing life back into Lottie.
”And I thought I could hang on to her forever. I thought if I could just keep one tiny piece of her alive, then everything would be fine. She would never really be gone. But now that piece is gone too, and I feel so alone. I feel more alone right now than the day she died. I thought if I could just control the rest of the world, then this one uncontrollable part of it wouldn’t matter. Or it couldn’t hurt. But it turns out, I was wrong. Because it hurts like hell.”
What if life is predictable? What if people leave for no reason? What if losing is just another part of living? What if the universe can’t be controlled? What if chaos is good? What if some questions can never be answered? What if that’s okay?
I think that’s okay.
“Any system, if left unattended or isolated, will eventually result in entropy. Or chaos.”