Flowers held so many mixed memories.
Rachel never thought she'd end up staying in Lima, but for the boy she loved she stayed despite herself.
Breathing becomes difficult
when your head is spinning
Hearts pound and ache
Nerves get the better of you
when you try not to let that happen
She can scarcely breathe
The curtains rise
and she looks,
sees his face and then
the can finally take in the air
It’s been years and Rachel barely talks to anyone from high school anymore. Their lives have taken them in all different directions. From time to time there were phone calls, e-mails. But for the most part they didn’t talk. They didn’t speak. They lived in a box under her bed, pictures and programs from their performances, her old yearbooks. That’s the only way she could be close to them, her old friends, the boy she had once loved so very much that she was willing to give up her dreams to stay with him. Now he’s only there when she wears the star necklace he gave her.
It’s funny how time could change so many things. How she had gone from being the queen little diva at her school to being the Broadway star that she always said she would be, far from Lima, Ohio; far from the slushie facials and the bullying in the halls of McKinley High School. Far from feeling like every breath she took was a mistake and that everyone hated her. she had come so far from being the little diva in the tiny plaid skirts that guys never really cared about, the girl that was always second choice but they said was first choice. She wasn’t the same little girl who chased after men that didn’t want her, that manipulated them to get what she wanted. She didn’t have to anymore. Ten years after graduating and she was happy. She was married to a man she never thought she would love that way- she had always thought Finn was her soulmate, not his friend who she liked but could be so, so annoying as well. And they were happy. She was the happiest she had ever been. So the years had changed her quite a bit. No one could deny that. But the years? Well, that had been a lot more kind to her than she deserved.
"Finn isn’t your soulmate. You know that, deep down. He’s not made for New York. And you’re not made for Lima. If he goes to New York he’ll end up being like a lamb led to the slaughter. And if you stay in Lima you’ll resent him. Face it, Rachel. You two are too different to ever work."
When Rachel heard that she didn’t want to believe it. She refused to face that supposed reality. Because she loved Finn and Finn loved her. If you loved someone you could make it work. He could survive in New York if he had to. He could get a job and they could get an apartment or something. He could find a way to survive. Even if it was hard then they could make it work. He could go to school there. He could do it. She knew he could.
And if he couldn’t, if he really wanted to stay in Lima, then she could give up Broadway to stay there with him. She could stay and spend her life there if she had to. Maybe she would run a show choir the way Mr. Schue and Shelby did. Maybe she would give voice lessons to people. Maybe she would go to Ohio State University and get a job. She’d figure it out. It wouldn’t matter what she did as long as she was with the man she loved.
But then she started to think. She started to really think. And she realized that she didn’t want to stay in Lima, even for Finn. She didn’t want to give up Broadway, not for anyone. She had been working too hard her whole life to get there. She couldn’t stay in Lima. And maybe, just maybe, Finn wasn’t made for New York. She’d like to think he was because she wanted him with her but maybe he wasn’t. He was so very innocent minded that it might eat him alive.
Sitting in the music room while Mr. Schue prattled on about something or other she couldn’t help but look at Finn like she was trying to see into their future. What would become of them? She had always thought that they were meant to be together. But if they were meant to be together then maybe they shouldn’t be having that many problems. Maybe it should have been easy to figure out what to do from that point on. They wouldn’t want to be anywhere but with each other. She’d be content in Lima or he’d want to go to New York. But how do you accept that the man you love isn’t the person you’re meant to be with? How do you live when you know that your reason for feeling good about yourself is going to go away?
When he asked Rachel to marry him he gave her a ring with a diamond in it, shaped like a heart. It sparkled in the light and while it wasn’t too big it was beautiful. When their daughter was born she was born in April. Her birthstone was a diamond and she bought herself a necklace with a little heart and a diamond in the center so her daughter would always be with her even when she was in daycare, her daughter could be in her heart. When her husband died she had his ashes turned into a fake diamond so she could wear him on his hand every day for the rest of her life.
Okay, so he wasn’t really the kind of guy that people thought would be a good father. And who could blame them? He was sort of an asshole. Sort of really an asshole. And he did really stupid shit all the time. But whatever. He also knew how to be a bad father thanks to his own old man. The dude bailed and before he bailed he was an asshole, worse than Puck ever was and that was saying something. So, maybe they would have thought it was weird that he had a smile on his face watching his daughter spinning around in the yard. But whatever. If they gave him shit for it he’d just kick their ass.
Love wasn’t supposed to hurt. Love was supposed to wrap you up in warmth and make you feel complete, make you feel safe. But when the person you love dies it feels like a part of you is gone, it has broken off and is decaying while the rest of you is still alive. Everyone expected Rachel to sit there and cry her eyes out. She wanted to. She really did but she couldn’t bring herself to cry. She was too empty, too broken for tears. So she let the others wash away their pain with tears. She held her pain in in silence.