‘The Greatest Loss in Life’
“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” –Norman Cousins-
Nathan and Haley’s House
Tree Hill- 2013
There were a lot of people at the house and it seemed to Brooke like they just kept on coming. Business associates, editors, readers…all strangers. All of these people here to celebrate Lucas’ memory and she didn’t know half of them. She glanced down at the dress Haley let her borrow and smoothed it out.
It’s a Clothes over Bros design; she can actually remember the day she came up with it. Lucas helped. She sighed and closed her eyes to try and stop the tears form coming. I will not do this. I will not stand here and cry my eyes out in front of a bunch of strangers, thought Brooke.
She pinched the bridge of her nose and opened her eyes. Crisis averted for the moment, thought Brooke. Haley was across the room making sure everything was where it should be when she noticed Brooke. She frowned. Losing Lucas had been hard on everyone, but especially hard on Brooke.
Haley had been Brooke’s best friend since they were sixteen. They’ve been through a lot growing up, but through everything Brooke had always managed to pick herself up and go on…until now. She’s never seen Brooke this despondent. She looked around the room trying to see if she could spot the familiar blond curls, but nothing.
Nathan called Peyton to let her know what happened, but they never heard back from her. Haley still hoped that maybe she’d show up, Brooke could use her even if she didn’t realize it. A hand on her back made her turn. Her body relaxed when she saw Nathan behind her holding Amálin.
“Hey…how are you holding up?”
“Keeping busy is helping for the moment. God Nathan…what are we going to do? I feel so…so helpless. She won’t talk to anyone. She looks like the walking dead. I’m worried.”
“Me too, but right now I think we just need to let her grieve. We all need to just…grieve.”
She nodded as he leaned in and dropped a kiss on her forehead. Brooke watched Nathan and Haley from afar. She envied them. Brooke Scott had never envied anyone, but as she watched the way Nathan put a supportive arm around Haley and pulled her closer, that changed.
Brooke frowned as she listened to the people around her. After a few minutes she drowned out the sound of random people sharing stories about Lucas. Who are these people anyway? None of them really knew Lucas…not the way I did, she thought. None of them knew how even though he enjoyed writing he loved working on his mustang more.
How when he was stressed he would go play ball with Nate to cool off, or how some nights we’d pick a book and take turns reading to each other. How we still traded off doing things, like we used to when we were sixteen to learn more about each other…Brooke shook the thoughts from her head.
She was breathing heavy and she felt like the room was closing in on her. Too much was going on in her head at once. It was like every moment she ever spent with Lucas was rushing through her brain at the same time. She lurched forward and made her way to the stairs.
When she finally felt the banister in her hand she collapsed onto one of the stairs. She pulled up her knees, wrapped her arms around them, and rested her head against them. Brooke wasn’t sure how much more of this she could take. All she wanted was for everyone to leave.
A soft voice calling her made her lift her head.
“Can I sit next to you?”
She nodded and slid over on the step to give him some room to sit next to her. He walked up the two steps before plopping down beside her. He glanced at her, but she wasn’t looking at him. She was staring into space. He let out a small breath and looked around the room.
“There are a lot of people here for Uncle Lucas.”
Brooke could feel the tears again as she spoke.
“Your Uncle Lucas…was liked by a lot of people…”
“We liked him more.”
Brooke was startled by his comment and turned to look at him.
“What do you mean sweetie?”
“There are a whole bunch of people here who I’ve never seen. I don’t remember Uncle Lucas being friends with any of them. I just want everyone to go home. I’m tired of people telling me they’re sorry. It’s not like it brings Uncle Lucas back.”
Brooke was quiet as she watched Jamie fiddle with his shoes. She couldn’t have put it better if it came from her own mouth. At nine years old Jamie was smarter than most adults she knew. She was tired. Physically and emotionally drained. Brooke didn’t want these people here anymore than Jamie did. She just wanted to be left alone.
People mean well, but all the attention doesn’t help. She nudged Jamie with her leg and he looked up at her.
“You know what…I feel the same way. What do you say we go upstairs and get away from all these people…?”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Nathan watched as Brooke and Jamie made their way quietly upstairs. No one noticed. Everyone was too busy involved in their own conversations, but he saw. Even though Jamie was only nine, he had a lot of heartache in his life. Nathan wasn’t sure how Jamie was dealing with what happened to Lucas.
Jamie idolized Lucas. His two favorite people in this world aside from him and Haley were Lucas and Brooke. He and Haley should have realized that having everyone here would be too much for Brooke. But this is what you do when someone dies...it’s expected.
Everyone was worried that Brooke wasn’t talking, that she was pulling away from her friends and family. No one even thought that the answer was right in front of them the whole time. Maybe they couldn’t reach Brooke, but Nathan had faith that if anyone could reach her, it would be Jamie.
Jamie certainly had a way about him. We all just have to take things a day at a time, thought Nathan as he went to go look for Haley. Brooke and Jamie made their way into the guest room Brooke was staying in and they plopped down on top of the covers.
The room was quiet and it smelt like apple cinnamon. Haley must have some kind of air freshener in here, thought Brooke. A few minutes later Jamie shifted and broke the silence.
“Are you okay?”
She hesitated before speaking. She’s never lied to Jamie before, but she didn’t want to make things harder for him.
“I don’t know.”
“Do you miss Uncle Lucas a lot?”
The tears were back when her eyes met Jamie’s. She placed her arms under her head and nodded. Her voice was barely a whisper.
Jamie watched as a tear fell down Brooke’s cheek and she swiped at it frantically.
“It’s okay to cry Aunt Brooke. Mom says when we cry we’re just letting Uncle Lucas know how much he meant to us. How much he still means to us…you know he used to tell me you were the best thing that ever happened to him and that when I was older I’d have my own Pretty girl and I’d know what he meant.”
Brooke chocked back a sob and closed her eyes.
“I love your Uncle Lucas so much Jamie…you know that don’t you?”
He made a face at her.
“Of course I do.”
She opened her eyes as tears coursed down her cheeks.
“Of course. He told me he didn’t deserve you once. He said you were full of love and he didn’t know how he got so lucky.”
Brooke chuckled lightly through her tears. That sounded exactly like Lucas. He always said things like that when in reality; she was the one who didn’t know how she got so lucky. The pain was coming back again in full force. She wasn’t sure she could hold it in anymore.
Jamie kept telling her about conversations he had with Lucas that Brooke never knew about and she listened. Took it all in and cried. She let out all the pent up emotions she had been holding in since Lucas died. The tears poured out and with each new story Jamie told Brooke could feel a piece of something inside her die.
It sounded horrible, but Lucas had things easy. He didn’t have to live here without her…she was the one left behind…the one living a nightmare. She could feel the longing for something she’d never be able to get back again.
The loss left a gap…a hole that would remain vacant in her heart, because Lucas Scott was dead…and he was never coming back. Those were her last thoughts before drifting off to sleep.