Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Long Goodbye

We're not leaving yet, maybe not for a while. It's all going to depend on how much work Jess and the others can manage in their off time. K and his friends are going to make some runs out to the area we're looking to settle, get things set up there. They'll be gone a few weeks at least, which leaves Jess and Kincaid and a few others here to help get things ready.

I wish I could help more. Healing from my injuries is keeping me fairly inactive. I've been sick and hurt so much over the last few years that I've grown used to it, I suppose. But that doesn't make it any easier to sit still while other people are getting the work done.

I have noticed a few things in this strange little time where I have to sit back and relax. People have been coming by the house, which we're back in for the time being. Usually only a few a day, though the number varies, but all of them come to talk to Jess and I. Some want to say goodbye, acquaintances we haven't seen in a while. Others are total strangers who feel some obligation to us. That's a weird feeling, you know? I understand how people get the perception, but it's a false one.

So, for the record: your thanks are appreciated but unnecessary. Really. Jess and I might have had started this place, had the idea, but it was all of you who built it. I've said it before and it remains true. You're welcome for the very small part we played in making Haven what it is, but as I look around and see people walking the streets in safety without the benefit of a fully-repaired wall, I can't help but wonder at how far our community has come. And not because of us by any stretch.

I see a former enemy out there now clearing space around our home so the rebuilding can happen without interruption. I smell the burning of the undead in their pyres, see the tension drained from tired faces. I see people repairing power and water lines, putting our home back the way it was. Maybe making it better.

That's on you. On all of you. You're the ones who were willing to put aside the killing, the hate, and take a risk. You were brave enough to let an enemy in after he gave his word for peace. You risked it all. YOU did that, not us. Whatever good things are happening, however this place grows and becomes a true Haven in the days ahead, that's on all of you.

If I'm belaboring the point a little, it's because what I see around me is so amazing. Really, the scope of change and growth in our little town as well as the potential for the future sort of blows my mind. I can barely wrap my head around it, yet people are stopping by my house thanking me for it. That's like a journalist taking credit for a Pulitzer-winning article he didn't write. My ego would love to agree with you, but it's just not true.

Instead, let me thank all of you. I'm leaving this place for a new adventure--hopefully not the kind where I get shot a bunch of times--and I don't contemplate that move without deep sadness. All other considerations aside, this is still my home and you are still my family, my friends. We're a community, and it tears me up to even think about leaving. But I can do it. Not because I'm strong, but because I've watched all of you over the last few weeks. You've banded together in ways that give me real hope for the future. I know my home will be in good hands, growing and thriving, because of you. I planted the seed of the idea, Jess watered and fed it, and the rest of you made this place grow into the vast, complex garden it is today.

I can leave happily enough because I know you'll keep the place vibrant and alive should I ever want to come back to visit. Even should I die the first day out of Haven, I could do so knowing joy that my old stomping grounds have become a place where humanity truly lives once more.

Again, that's because of you, not me.

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