I can still feel the Earth move beneath my feet. So fast and sure as it careens through space. I know and feel so many things. I have seen things that my eyes haven’t, I have heard so many things that my ears haven’t, so many foods, so many people, so many hellos, and good-byes, but none that I physically have done.
I have grown so old, when another me out there will never experience age, at least, not at the rate I will.
I envy that other me. He lives in our lovely blue box, dancing his way through the universe – a universe I have drank my fill of, but yet I’ve only had a taste. It’s a strange feeling – one of both knowing and unknowing. I want to blame my other self, but I must thank him as well. Without him, I would not be, and that thought always sends a chill into my hand – the hand I was born from. While he took my life of time travel and mystical lands from me, he gave me something he may never have. I know so much of him, but he will never know of me.
He gave me a normal life, a life of companionship and happiness. While so short and fleeting my life will be as a human, I will never have to live through the deaths of my loved ones. At least, not until it’s time for us both to go. I have a wife, I have a child, and a grandchild.
He has all of the universe, but I will never have the weight of loneliness such beauty carries with it.
“Doctor, what are you up here day-dreaming about?”
I look to the door of our bedroom, and there she stands, smiling. Her blond hair has faded to a white, and crow’s feet have found their way to the corners of her eyes, but I smile back just the same. She isn’t the only one with a head of snow-covered hair, and the wrinkles on my face are much deeper than hers. Knowledge is a wonderful thing, but it will age anyone much quicker than time ever will. I find my gaze drifting back to the plain white ceiling, and I wonder how old my other self feels. Much older now, as he is learning and seeing things every day – things I am thankful to be blind to, but some small part of me still aches for it.
Before I know it, her hand is gripping mine. The hand he and I both share, and I meet her gaze as soon as her warmth envelops me. She is smiling, and her blue eyes shine with the same youth she carried when we first met, but as she holds the hand I hadn’t realized was shaking before, I know her mind is somewhere else. She thinks of him too. Knowledge has been kind to her, but she misses those stars just as much as I do, but I believe that’s what has kept us together for so long. I love her, and I believe she loves me, but we both love that man in his blue box, and all of those adventures we will never get to take.
Still, I don’t say a word, and take her hand in mine. That touch brings her back to me, and we both know the truth. With such beauty and knowledge, there can only be that much more pain. I pull her closer to me, until she is forced onto the bed beside me. She doesn’t complain, and cuddles close to my side, her frail body molding perfectly to mine as we intertwine hands.
Our hands have held children, children I have gotten to raise to adulthood. Our hands have held the hands of our grandchild as she tells us her dreams of the stars and what must be out there to discover. We have told her a few stories, but only those that will fade into her adulthood. With knowledge comes pain, and while we both want her to see the beauty of the things we have seen, it’s not worth the pain of always wondering. Wondering and waiting for the man in the blue box, a blue box I may never see again.
I look to my Rose and find that she has shut her eyes, drifting off into a world where she and her Doctor can travel the stars for eternity. I am not jealous, as I have the same dream. Though, my dream is to be the Doctor in her dreams, taking her to all of the places she wishes to travel, but never will. My mind grows weary with such thoughts and dreams, and I find my eyes drifting shut.
I always dream the same thing, if I dream at all.
I dream of myself, younger. Blue suit and red converse, standing before the doors of the TARDIS. Usually, the doors are locked, but in this dream, I find the weight of its key around my neck. I’m neither surprised nor excited by this fact. I place my hand against the metal at my heart, and find a light thrumming of not just one, but two hearts. This is what makes me excited. I am The Doctor.
I pluck the key from my chest, and put it into the lock of my TARDIS, and without even a turn of the key, the door opens for me, revealing white light. It’s blinding, and I’m not able to make out the round console of my dreams. I turn my face away, hoping the light will fade when I catch a glimpse of something behind me. I turn a bit to get a better look, and there she is. Blue eyes wide, hair the color of warm hay, and with her favorite Union Jack shirt.
She studies me up and down, while I do the same to her. No crow’s feet.
We lock eyes, and she asks, “Doctor?”
I’m not sure if I can answer or not. Instead, I give her a smile and an out-reaching hand.
She looks to my hand, then back to my eyes, and her face brightens. She rushes forward, reaching out and gripping my hand. I turn to lead her into the light of the TARDIS.
The TARDIS alerts its departure, then slowly fades away. To the stars? To the universe? To another dimension entirely? I can’t be sure. I’m not sure if I am The Doctor or not, but a man can dream, can’t he?