A Comet Pulled From Orbit



Scene Title A Comet Pulled from Orbit
Synopsis Peyton is woken by shocking news.
Date March 5, 2010

Upper West Side, Peyton's Apartment

I've heard it said

that people come into our lives for a reason

bringing something we must learn

Her phone rings.

Peyton groans and glances at the time: Seven in the morning. No one would call her at such a time unless it was an emergency, yet the ringtone "People Are Strange" informs her without having to glance at the display that it's no one in her phone's contact list. She could ignore it, or…

And we are led

to those who help us most to grow

if we let them

and we help them in return.

It could be important. Eileen or Teo or Elisabeth or Faye calling from a number she doesn't know. She fumbles for the iPhone on the table, knocking over her alarm clock and a bottle of water. "Hello?" she murmurs, her voice raspy with want of use. "Yes, this is Peyton… John… what's wrong?" John Hunter, the handsome brother of her best friend. He doesn't have to even say the words. In the hollow pit of her belly, Peyton knows. The despair in his voice is much worse than the few times they spoke when Wendy was missing or when Wendy was hurt and in the hospital. It can only mean one thing, and stinging tears well up in her eyes, a sob wells up in her throat.

Well, I don't know if I believe that's true

but I know I'm who I am today

Because I knew you.

Peyton listens to the few words John manages to speak. He doesn't give the details, though her mind is racing with a myriad of ways that her friend might have died. He tells her he will be in touch regarding the arrangements.

He tells her to be careful.

Like a comet pulled from orbit

as it passes a sun,

like a stream that meets a boulder

halfway through the wood,

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?

But because I knew you

I have been changed for good.

"I'm so sorry," she whispers to John, offering her condolences, though she knows it's futile. Wendy was the adored pet of her family, the free spirit that broke all the rules and yet won all their hearts over with her impish personality. She had been through so much already, and was finally strong enough to withstand all the pain she'd been through in the past year. It wasn't fair.

But when is life fair?

It well may be

that we will never meet again

in this lifetime

so let me say before we part,

so much of me

is made of what I learned from you.

You'll be with me

like a handprint on my heart.

And now whatever way our stories end

I know you have re-written mine

by being my friend.

Peyton shakes her head. Her comment so many days back to Kain returns, but this time with more pathos and poignancy — They say that God has a sick sense of humor. A song lyric, but in this case, so true. Peyton just knew that Wendy was going to succeed this time in her war against Refrain. That she was finally going to be able to handle the pain of living in this unkind world, that her spirit had triumphed over what Bill Dean and Danko and the drugs had done to her. She had seen it, the last time she saw her friend, sharing coffee and laughter. She had seen the battle was won, and that her friend was finally going to be well.

Like a ship blown from its mooring

by a wind off the sea,

like a seed dropped by a skybird

in a distant wood,

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?

But because I knew you

I have been changed for good.

"Let me know — whatever I can do," she murmurs, her voice shaky with grief. They say their goodbyes, and then there is silence. She is alone.

Her friend, dead. They had a mercurial relationship of the highest highs and the lowest of lows. There had been arguments, there had been kisses, there had been tears, there had been laughter. They had disagreed about Peyton's principles and Peyton's friends. They had disagreed, even in the beginning, about Registration and its dangers.

They had seen each other at their absolute worst, and somehow managed to stay friends, forgiving one another for their weaknesses and faults, and loving one another for their strengths.

And just to clear the air

I ask forgiveness

for the things I've done you blame me for.

But then, I guess we know

there's blame to share,

and none of it seems to matter anymore.

Standing, Peyton pads on bare feet across the cold wooden floors of the apartment, staring out at the wintry landscape of Central Park across the street.

"I'm so sorry, Wendy," she whispers. "For everything I did that hurt you." The list is long, at least in Peyton's mind. The offering of a tablet of Ecstasy when she didn't know the woman was a recovering addict. The thousand arguments they'd had over Aaron. That she didn't rescue Wendy from Danko before he could do such damage to her. The fact she told the Humanis First! bastards what the woman could do when they were kidnapped.

Was it HF that did this to her friend? Her jaw sets with anger. She wipes away her tears.

Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun

Like a ship blown off its mooring by a wind off the sea

Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the stream

Like a seed dropped by a seabird in a distant wood

The happy memories are there, too. Wendy was the one who came to see her in the hospital after Peyton's power had manifested. Her former "friends," the celebrities she used to know, had not shown up, but Wendy had. The singing of songs while they rescued themselves from HF's grasp. Peyton's birthday celebration, kisses and hugs at midnight. The last time they met, singing "Here Comes the Sun" despite the gloomy day, hearing Wendy, recovering from Refrain, laugh and seeing her smile, on her way to happy and healthy.

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?

I do believe I have been changed for the better,

She turns from the window. She needs to read the newspaper and talk to her friends — the ones that Wendy never approved of — and find out who did this to her beautiful free spirited Wendy Bird. She cannot be weak. She will mourn. She will grieve. But this will not break her.

And because I knew you

If Wendy was strong enough to recover, to rise from the ashes of what had been done to her, to rip herself from the false security and seductive fantasy of Refrain, Peyton can be strong enough to fight for a world where things like this don't happen to people like Wendy.

To people like her.

I have been changed for good.

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