The Memory Remains.

By: Ronnie Shatz.

A Fluffy, Fuzzy&Co Production.

September 2001.


Disclaimer: Don't know 'em, don't own 'em. They're not really gay. I own the idea of the story and the plot.

I miss him. Oh my god I miss him so much. I could never imagine life without him. I still can't. Even now, when he's gone, I can't see myself going on with my life when he's not here. My life ended when his life needed. Just like that. By taking those pills, he took his life, and mine. He was the love of my life. My once in a life time. But he's gone. He's gone and there's nothing I could, can, do about it. I wish, more than everything, for him to be next to me when I wake up. To see his tender smile, being the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning. I want to wake up, and find that this was all nothing but a dream, a nightmare. To find out that he was still here, still alive, still with me.

He was my life. He was my everything. My soul, my heart, my mind and in a way, he betrayed me. He betrayed me by not thinking when he took those pills, knowing that they were going to kill him. He betrayed me by leaving me alone, even though he knew how much I hated that. He knew I loved him and he still left me. He left me. All alone, and I miss him. Even though he chose to leave me, I miss him. I miss him more than I thought one could miss someone. I feel like I'm tearing up from inside. " Its tearing up my heart " is the line that's working for me right now. But the problem is, that he's not with me. That's why I'm tearing up. Because he's not here. He walked away from me in a way. He's dead.

There, I said it.

Hes dead and there's nothing I can do to bring him back. And I want to bring him back. So bad. Because like I said, I miss him. Before... it happened, we were having the best time of our life. We were together, and that's all that mattered to us. Because we were in love. I loved him, he loved me, and we didn't need another thing in the world but each other's love. I guess that, with time, it wasn't enough for him anymore. I guess, that he needed more. He needed something that I, or anyone else, couldn't give him. He was taking anti depressions. I didn't know about that before they told me. I didn't know he needed them. He looked OK, healthy, and I didn't bother to look underneath the surface. I didn't bother to look under the mask of happiness that he was putting on. I guess it wasn't important enough for me at the time. JC was my lover, my boyfriend and my future. Like I said, he was my everything. I thought I knew him better than I knew myself. But I guess that I didn't know him well enough. I didn't know him well enough to know that the smiles he was giving me were a cover for the broken soul inside him. I didn't know him well enough to know that he was hiding those cuts on his wrists under those long shirts. I didn't know him well enough to see how tormented and tortured he was.

He was in pain. Pain that I couldn't stop.

I swore to him that I'll do everything that I can to always be there for him. To help him with everything he needed, with everything he wanted. I swore that no matter what his problem was, I'll help him solve it. That I'll get him out of every trouble. I couldn't get him out of this trouble. I couldn't.

I failed him.

He trusted me, and I failed him. And hes dead, because I wasn't there to help him. Because I wasn't there to listen to him when he needed me the most. Because I was too self observed and wallowed in my own troubles that I couldn't see that he, my love, my life, my everything, was fading away. Like a fire slowly running out of something to burn, he was fading away. Getting smaller and smaller by the day until he just disappeared. Poof. Just like that. No JC. He slipped through my fingers and I didn't even notice it. I didn't even notice him fading away.

I was so stupid.

Forgive me Josh. I'm asking you to forgive me, and I know that you're hearing me. I'm sorry honey. I've failed to keep you safe. I've failed to give you all the love that you needed. But I do love you Josh. With all my heart. Even when you're not here, I still love you. I'll never stop loving you. Never, ever. Not in this life time. I'm asking you to forgive me for not taking more time to be with you when you needed me. I'm asking you to forgive me for not saving you when you could still be saved. I'm asking you to forgive me for letting you go that easily. I should have fought for you. I should have made you live, somehow. I don't know how, but I should have. Because I love you. Only now, when you're gone, I realize just how much I love you. I feel like I'm dying without you Josh. I feel like I already died.

Maybe, up there in heaven, he already forgave me. I don't know. Its just like him to forgive even when its not possible. Even when forgiveness is not an option. Even when a person doesn't deserve his forgiveness. Like I don't. I don't deserve his forgiveness, because it is my fault he is not here right now. Its is my fault that he is dead. Its is my fault, because I couldn't help him. Not when he truly needed me.

God, why do I keep doing this to myself?

The day he... left me, I promised to myself that I will never think about him again. I promised myself that my feeling for him will be buried along with his body. I promised myself that I will forget everything about Joshua Scott Chasez. Promised myself that I will go on with my life. My JCless life.

I was so stupid for thinking that I could.

He was too important to me. I can't just... forget him. I loved him. I love him still. If someone came to you, and took a piece of your heart or something, will you forget it with time? Of course not. You will always remember it. Well, JC was my heart. JC was my soul and my whole being. I died with him.

Yeah, some will say that I am just wallowing in my self pity. Some will say that I am not looking for a way to get out of this depression, that I gave up too soon. Maybe I did. I don't know. All I know is that I don't have the strength to fight, that I don't have the strength to think of a way out of this feeling.

Maybe I don't want to.

Maybe I feel like I owe this to Josh. Maybe I feel that by acting like I died, I will earn his forgiveness. Even though I know I won't. He'll be more angry with me if I'll do it. Josh never thought about himself. He always thought about other people and what they feel and need.

The heart never listens to the brain, right?

I knew I shouldn't fall for him. I knew we could never be together. I knew it wont work. But yet, I fell in love with him, against my own will. I knew it will make things more complicated then they are, getting together with him that is, but still, I never tried to stop myself. I never took a moment to think about what I'm doing.

Being with him was too right to be wrong.

It was perfect. It was like my place was in his arms. It was like my lips were meant to be against his. It was as if my body was a part of his. Like we were once a part of a whole. Tow halves that made one perfect whole.

I needed him. I still do.

He was my sanity, my peace, my cure to every illness, my savior. He helped me when I needed him, he was there to hold my hand when I needed balance. He was there to soothe me at night when I needed needed it. He was there to be my light in the end of the tunnel. He was there for me, always, and I wasn't there for him. Not when it counted the most.

So yeah, I feel sorry for myself. I feel sorry for Josh. I feel sorry for Justin and for Lance and Chris.. I feel sorry for Josh's family and for his friends.. I just feel, sorry.

I just want to talk to him, you know? Talk to him, one last time. I want to ask him why he did it. I want to ask him what made him take that final step. I want to ask him if there was something that I could do to stop him. I just want to see him, one last time. I want to see his beautiful blue eyes twinkle with light, one last time. I want to see his beautiful features light with consternation as he wrote, one last time. I want to see his beautiful body, one, last, time.

I remember the moment I saw him like it was yesterday. I came over to his house so we could go out for dinner or something. I wanted to surprise him. The gate was open and the door was unlocked. Sign number one. The house was dark and silent. No one was there, not even his housekeeper, Jasmine. Sign number two. It scared me, you know? Josh was a person who liked light, and noise. He never liked the dark that much. Said it reminded him of this time he got lost in a forest when he was young. He said that the only time he didn't leave the hallway light on was when I came over to sleep. He said he felt secure. I loved him for that even more. I felt like I was giving something to him, you know? I made him feel secure, safe. I remember walking up the stairs that led to his bedroom very slowly and quietly, as if I knew what was waiting for me there. The only light in the house came from the second floor bathroom. The door was half open, and soft music was playing, heard through the slit in the door. I cautily approached the door and pushed it open with my hand, scared from what I will find on the other side. I think I knew. I think I had a feeling that he was gone. I think my heart was somehow connected to his and when it stopped, I knew. I was still shocked when I stepped into the brightly lit bathroom and saw his lifeless body lying on the cold tiled floor, back against the toilet seat, legs spread in front of him and beautiful head bowed down. I almost died when I saw him. He looked so.. so cold. So not like the Josh I knew. My Josh.

Tears started rolling down my face and I fell down to the floor next to him. I think I lay there next to him for about an hour before I realized he was really dead. I guess I was hoping he'll wake up if I wont do anything. I guess I was wishing for him to. I wanted him to wake up so badly that I almost screamed. It was tearing me up from inside to see him so cold and lifeless. After what seemed like forever, I got up and walked to his bedroom, crying harder as I entered the room that still smelled like him, and reached for the phone. I don't know how I was able to dial Justin's number, but I did. I called him and just said " Josh is dead " and hung up. I must have given him the shock of a life time. I then called 911 and asked them to come over, because " my boyfriend just fucking killed himself. " . I don't know how I was able to do all those things, how I remembered the address to his fucking house, but I did. Ten minutes later, the house was full of people and I was sitting on his bed, trying to remember him as he was alive, not how he looked when he died. I wanted to remember the happy Josh I knew and loved, not the depressed looking Josh I had found in the bathroom.

No one came near me as I sat on his bed and stared into space. Justin tried once, but I just told him that I need to be alone for a while, and he left. I thanked him for that in my heart. I needed to say goodbye. I needed to have my closure.

But I didn't want to say goodbye. I didn't want to let him go and I didn't want him to leave me. I was shocked, choked up with tears and emotionally dead and he wasn't there to hold me in his arms and tell me that everything will be OK. It wasn't fair. I needed him there. I wanted him there.

I knew what they were thinking. Poor Joey. I don't want their pity. I have enough of my own to last me for a life time, thank you very much. I hate it when people pity me. When I pity me, its OK. I'm me. I can pity, uh, me. But at the moment, I didn't care. All I cared about was the fact that Josh, my beloved Josh, was lying cold and dead in some black plastic bag. It killed me.

All in all, that day sucked.

I don't remember much from the funeral, you know? I remember his coffin being lowered into the ground. I remember crying and I remember Chris going up to say some things about him. I couldn't go up there. I just couldn't. They didn't ask me either. I think they knew it'll be too much for me to take. What I had to say to him, to my Josh, I already said in my heart. And I knew he heard everything. He had to. He was Josh. My Josh. He heard everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING.. it was part of him being Josh. I heard them say afterwards that it was a beautiful ceremony. All the paper who wrote about it said it was moving and graceful.. they said that it was dignified.

They didn't make it dignified.

They didn't leave him, even in his death. They continued to jump at us with questions about him, about us. About his life and about his death. They just couldn't leave him alone. He needed to be left alone because after all, they were part of what made him.. made him.. kill himself.

He wrote me a letter. Yeah, he did. A long letter too. It explained what he did and why he did it.. he said that he loved me more than life itself and that he hopes I can forgive him. Oh god, how couldn't I? I loved him, love him. He asked me not to be angry with him, as if I ever could. I could never be angry with him for that. Not when he was in so much pain.

" I love you Joe.. don't think that I don't. But even though I love you, and our love is more important to me than anything else on this planet, this pain is too much to take. I just can't go on living with this pain, day after day. Its killing me slowly from the inside and I can't just sit down and let it take me. You know I'm not like that. So, like everything else that bothers us, I have to put an end to this pain. I wish there was another way. I wish I didn't have to do this but it is the ONLY way out. The only way out. So through this letter, I am asking for your forgiveness. Please, remember me. " he wrote. There were tears stains on the paper and the ink was smudged in several places. His handwriting, most of the time so clear and neat, was almost unreadable and it took me much effort to read those lines when I read it at first. Now, I almost know it by heart. I read that letter so many time I can't even count. When ever I missed him or thought about him, I took out that letter, which I took everywhere I went, and just read it again. Its my piece of Josh.

I don't know how I thought the other will react. I just know that when I first found out, I didn't care. All I cared was, about myself. Yeah, I know.. I was being selfish.. but to tell the truth, I didn't have the strength to care about anyone else. When I raised my eyes from my hands a while later, I got a look at Justin's face, and I was scared. His blue eyes, always so alive, looked dead, as if someone had turned off the lights inside of him. God, that shook me up. I understood that I wasn't the only one hurt by JC's leaving. I remembered that I wasn't the only one who loved him. They loved him too, and they will also miss him. Chris looked so old when he came to me, putting a hand on my shoulder and just stood there, not saying a word. He looked like he aged 10 years in 10 minutes. He looked so, uh - Chris like that it scared me. Lance, oh god.. Lance was so quiet... he didn't say a word the whole time after we left JC's house.. he just stared straight ahead of him and said nothing.

We were never the same after that night.

There was no way we could be. JC was gone. Our friend and loved one was gone, never to come back. I, and I believe that they did too, felt like a part of me was taken out and you can't live without a part of your body.

OK, so I'm repeating myself here.

My mind just does that from time to time, you know? Its funny because since.. well you know, I wasn't able to think right, but now.. well, look at me now..

It was my therapist who offered me to write my feelings down like I just did.. he said it'll be good for me. A good way to let it all out. I guess it is, but I don't really know. I'm writing EVERYTHING that is in my head down and that is pretty scary, seeing your thoughts on paper, that is. Its.. sort of eerie, I guess. He also offered that I'd write it as if I'm telling it TO someone.. like, a friend or something. I decided to take his advice and do this. So, once I got back from our appointment, I took a pen and paper and sat down to write.

I've never been the writing type.

That was Josh. Damn.. it was as if he was born holding a pen or a pencil or something.. that guy could take a simple thought and make it into the best song you've ever heard without even sweating it. I remember all those times when he sat down on the carpet, or on his favorite chair in my house, the black leather - y one, by the fire place, and write for hours.. and I just watched him. I loved watching him when he wrote. He just looked, so content.. so peaceful with himself and everything around him.. and I envied him for that. For that ability to just disconnect himself from everything around him and concentrate on one thing, and one thing alone. I always had to do at least two things at the same time to feel peaceful.. Josh always used to say that I was hyperactive... I always said that I have a lot of energy.. he'd laugh and say its the same.

My point is... that I think I'm through with this... writing my thoughts down, that is.. I don't know what I'm thinking right now.. stupid that it is, I don't. I mean.. so many thoughts are running through my heads and its tiring to try and catch one.. quick little suckers, they are. Anyway...  bye. To no one in particular.

Joey Fatone sighed as he closed the small leather diary and placed it back onto the table. Its been very exhausting, trying to sort all his thoughts and bring them down to the page, but he had to do it. For himself, for people around him and more important, for Josh. For him, he had to realized what was going on with him.. what he was going to do with his life from now on. He owed it to Josh. And he also owed it to Chris and Justin and Lance because he knew it was hurting them to see him like he was, broken, silent and depressed..

Once again sighing, he got up and walked to the big window that was on the other side of the wall, looking out onto Orlando as it's people began to move home, as if racing the setting sun. Reaching for the window's handle, he pulled it open, breathing in the fresh air, closing his eyes. It was his last goodbye. He was really saying goodbye and letting go now.. " Bye Josh... I love you. " he whispered.

As he turned to walk back into the shadows of his living room, he could have sworn he heard a familiar voice singing with the wind.
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