She grew old loving him while he didn’t even grow old at all

When he stepped into the TARDIS, he expected falling in love with the stars – these dying suns that have the privilege to end their slow lives gracefully. He knew right away where he wanted to go. It was the only place he dreamed of going to – San Diego Comic Con, from the moment of its birth, all the way to its death.

When prompted as to why, out of all of time and space, future or past, on Earth or outside of it, he smiled brightly.

“You see, Doctor,” he said as he took in the interior of the time machine, “even if I do have enough money to go to SDCC in, say, five years, I would have gone there, yeah, but I would have missed the panels about a handful of my favorite TV shows! I mean, Tom Hiddleston would never repeat that surprise Loki stunt he did back in 2013. And what about Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino on their creation of Avatar: Legends of Aaang? And there’s also…”

As he continued rambling, he missed the small smile the Doctor was wearing as he looked at him fondly. The passion and eccentricity this man had was what drove the Time Lord to invite him along, and he was glad he did too. Maybe this time, just once, he won’t encounter any life-threatening situations.

“Alright then!” The Doctor piped in, “let’s go to San Diego!”

This strange man had expected the feeling of warmth, the sparks running through his spine, and the flipping in his stomach as he stepped inside the huge convention center. He did not, however, expect such feelings to skyrocket because of a pair of brown eyes staring back at him.

He was taken aback by her long wavy hair. Curious, he thought. How could a collective strand of brown human hair make me feel like this, when i have just seen galaxies explode up close?

When he stepped into the TARDIS, he knew he was going to see wonders – beauty in the form of flaming space rocks and glowing clouds. He did not expect to step inside a time machine, and step out to see beauty in the form of a pair of brown human eyes, when he’s always seen the color as dull and uninviting.

He knew he was falling, from the moment an intangible force pulled their sight together. Oh, he knows a lot about falling. His lifestyle consisted of constantly falling off cliffs and planes and buildings. The feeling took his breath away, but he knew he was safe. He knew what kind of ending this kind of falling will make – with him on a parachute, landing safely to the ground. He didn’t expect falling for a human being, hoping that he may have a chance with her.

Hope is dangerous. Aliens and guns and lack of oxygen can kill you in a heartbeat, but hope? Hope kills you everyday. He was brave, but he was not courageous enough to fall to an abyss without knowing what would happen next.

Yet, he still fell, especially when a smile started to play around her delicate lips. He decided to introduce himself, and shake hands. He said his name, she said hers. He walked around with her. It was one of those rare moments where people just clicked. She talks about shows and movies you’ve never watched yet, books and comics you haven’t read, bands you’ve never heard of-

This is not your era, he berated himself. He was careful to lie about where he came from – hoping she bought it, hoping she saw through it.

But his love for what he did was evident, and she saw it through his eyes. He gently led the conversation – from what he was and where he was from, to what he loved and why he loved it –  as they ate and walked.

The end of the night felt peculiarly like a fairy tale ending, as she held both of his hands in hers while the people slowly left to call it a day.

“Will I ever see you again?” she asked.

“I’m sorry. I live too far,” you said. Reluctantly, you added, “But I’ll be here again next year.”

Both of them agreed to meet again. Same place, different year. As they parted ways, the woman realized just a second too late that she didn’t even ask him how she can keep in touch.

As soon as he and the Doctor were in the TARDIS, he excitedly requested that they fast forward.

It was a minute for him. It was a year for her.

Their relationship grew with every passing year. There was always a new panel to witness, a new cosplayer to talk to, a new trailer to get hyped about… He knew he should have researched about the era’s culture, just so he wouldn’t look absolutely clueless – and suspicious – in front of her. But he loved how she would go on and on about a movie without stopping.

When she incredulously asked how he could not have known such a famous work, he dismissed her with an “I live in the mountains!”, to which she suspiciously asked, “Then how’d you come here in the first place?”

And so, his lies and her age grew with every passing year. And one day, so did their number.

One year, she hugged him, and whispered, “I’m pregnant”. They talked on and on about baby names and whose attitude their baby will have… and where they would settle down.

He did not want to settle down. As much as he loved her, well… he had a time machine at his backyard. And knowing the Doctor’s history, he and the TARDIS would leave if the Doctor thought it would be better that way. He hasn’t even said goodbye to his family yet. And he didn’t want to.

He begged for them to continue their yearly routine. She cried for him to stay.

Soon, her brown hair turned grey, her smiles started having wrinkles, and her body started becoming even more frail. Yet, her eyes remained bright. Tired – of real life, of the rest of the 364 days when she wouldn’t see the one she loved, of the daughter she had to take care on her own except for that one day when he would do all the work, of the lies told by said man she loved – but bright.

One year, when their daughter was turning ten, he figured it was time to tell them both the truth. That only an hour has passed for him this whole time.

“And I know it’s selfish” he had practiced saying to himself. He wanted his speech to be flawless. “But leave this life behind for me. Come away and live in mine.”

That same year, he waited for his girls to arrive. They never did.

He knew something bad has happened. She’s never missed a day.Unbeknownst to him, his wife passed away a few months before, and their child was taken into a foster home.

One hour’s not enough, he thought as the day ended.

He begged the Doctor to take him back. No, it’s not timelocked! No, she can’t be dead! “It’s nOT ENOUGH!

“It never is,” the Doctor said softly, looking at the man who, ten minutes ago, had everything, and now had nothing at all. He winced as he heard his knee hit the metal floor of the TARDIS, as his anguished cry echoed throughout the walls.

The Doctor knew then that he’d take a life-threatening situation over this any day. Aliens and monsters, he can fight. Strangers, he can charm and and bend to do his will. But outright grief? There was nothing else to do but wait it out. And he hated waiting. Yet he knew.

Time, or lack thereof, was what caused such a wound. Time, and only time, can heal it.

He would know. Blonde hair and a Union Jack flashed in his mind.

The Doctor stood there, unable to help, unable to heal. The air was heavy with regret. Funny, he thought silently, how one can have a time machine, and still be the saddest man in the world. 

-end-

She grew old loving him while he didn’t even grow old at all

Time to Regenerate: An essay on Doctor Who and real-life “regeneration”

In Doctor Who, there comes a point in the Doctor’s life (usually found in the last episode of every season), when he has to regenerate. And with a newly regenerated Doctor comes all sorts of new things – new face, new attitude, new sonic screwdriver, new TARDIS, new TARDIS key, new companion… It’s still him. Just a new version of him.

Same software, different case.

The idea of a Gallifreyan Time Lord travelling through time and space might be fictional, but there comes a time in our life when we have to “regenerate”.

There will come a time in our lives – our very own “season finale” – where we’ll realize that friends just come and go, goodbyes are inevitable, and even you would change even if you didn’t want to. You will feel like your friend’s on the other side of the universe, so completely out of your reach, like the 10th Doctor and Rose. You will feel like you’re better off without him, like Martha Jones did. You might not even have the luxury to say goodbye, like the countless could-have-been companions scattered all over the Doctor’s timeline.

At that point, you will feel as if every single cell in your body had its own grenade, and it all exploded at once. You will feel as if you had a heart big enough for the two of you, and they’re both dying and keeping each other alive at the same time. You will feel like screaming to the heavens, like how the Doctor always does when he’s regenerating, except you can’t because you do not have the luxury to die in a secluded TARDIS, away from prying ears.

You will think – as the Doctor did as he lost his companions, as he was dying inside his malfunctioning TARDIS, as he limply held his broken sonic screwdriver – that it is unfair. Why can’t there be a limit to pain and loss? Why can’t I just lose a maximum of two things a week? Why do I have to lose everything all at once?

It happens in a few minutes, but for you, it seems eternal. Every single memory flashes across your mind and all you can think of is “make it stop make it stop makeitstop makeitstopmAKEITSTOP-”

And then. There’s a roaring silence deafening your ears. You feel numb all over, and you begin to wonder where all the pain went.

And then. You start glowing. Every inch of your body will shine with milky white light. Swirling colors will surround your body, crackling electricity will run through your veins. You are renewed.

And new cells will start growing like buds in damp soil. Your bruised skin with your history tattooed all over it will shed like a snake’s, revealing the beauty you’ve always had deep inside, the beauty that you hid after years of being covered in dirt and pretenses.

It all goes uphill from there. It will be like climbing up a mountain – you will feel a dull pain under your feet but you will be thrilled to witness the beautiful view. Maybe you’ll see the new things and be reminded of what it was before. Maybe their laughter will echo around your ear. Maybe the phantom faces of your past won’t go away. Maybe.

But one thing is for sure. One day, they will make you smile.

Regeneration will be hard. It will break you from the bottom up. It will crush your soul and destroy you into a million pieces. It will be hard to breathe, and you’ll wish you didn’t have to breathe at all. You may feel like you’re going to die, but you won’t.

It’s hard, but it’s not impossible.

Time to Regenerate: An essay on Doctor Who and real-life “regeneration”

The Doctor Saves

Image

One fine afternoon, a girl wanted to jump off a bridge. She stood on the edge, between life and death. She held her breath and closed her eyes. Took one step forward-

Fingers wrapped around her arm and pulled her-

She wobbled and fell backwards, on the wrong side of the bridge-

And felt herself being carried by two strong arms on her back.

In a blur, she was standing upright, breathing heavily on someone’s shoulder. She felt the person’s heart beating fast, and she tried to blink the tears away. She allowed herself a moment of peace, closed her eyes and dropped her head on his. The girl struggled to keep her breathing normal, tried to unclench her tight throat.

She opened her tear-filled eyes, to catch a glimpse of something peculiar – a scarf loosely wrapped around his neck. She frowned as she tried to make sense as to how she could have seen it before. She tried to pull back, get a bigger picture, but the man pressed her head toward him.

“Listen,” the man said. “There are Weeping Angels all around this city.” She gasped, startled. “We need to get to safer grounds. And fast. Weeping Angels are-“

“I know what they are,” she managed to get out.

“Oh. Great. You know what to do?”

“Don’t blink,” she said, determination in her voice.

The man bent down to whisper, “And run.”

He grabbed her hand, and off they went.

—-

One fine afternoon, a boy saved a life unintentionally. He was walking home from a day filled with absolute happiness at the heaven called Sci Fi Convention, when a girl caught his attention. She had her left foot forward, her eyes closed, and her whole body screamed “please help me”. Without thinking, he did.

He grabbed her arm and pulled her back, catching her as she fell. He straightened her up and hugged her tightly, his mind panicking as it replayed the image of the girl about to jump. In an alternate universe, the girl he is holding right now is floating dead on the river. Fear crept up to him, panic rose once again. At the back of his mind, he thought, how many people have thought of dying today? How many of those people weren’t saved? A thousand thoughts started running through his mind. How this girl has a family somewhere, and how they would have reacted if he hadn’t done what he did. He reveled at how one simple act can mean so much.

He was still paralyzed when the girl started pushing away. Heart beating fast, he held her tighter. What if she intended to do it again? I have to get her out of here. I have to talk to her. I have to tell her she’s not alone. But I… she doesn’t know me.

“Listen. There are Weeping Angels all around this city,” he blurted. Oh no. He blinked, flustered at his own mouth. “We… need to get to safer ground. And fast.” He paused for a moment before he realized that ‘Weeping Angels’ is not a common thing everyone knows. “Weeping Angels are-“

“I know what they are,” she croaked.

He blinked. Then smiled. “Oh. Great. You know what to do?”

“Don’t blink,” she said, and he felt her nod.

Without hesitation, he bent down and whispered, “And run.”

He grabbed her hand, and they did.

One fine afternoon, the doctor saved a life, even when he wasn’t real. 

The Doctor Saves