My footsteps were leaden as I walked down the street. Baker Street. Of all the streets in London, my feet had reluctantly taken me here. And they stopped, almost as if by their own accord, in front of my former home at 221B.

I hadn’t been here since that dreadful… I mean wonderful… day of my marriage, the last time I had set eyes on my former friend and companion, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. On that fateful day, I entered our sitting room, dressed in my finest clothes and anticipating my happy event. I thought that nothing could put a damper on my fine mood. I was wrong.

I walked into the room to find Holmes still in his nightclothes and dressing gown, with his hair unkempt, standing by the mantel. The dreaded morocco case lay open beside him and the hypodermic syringe had obviously been used. He was playing the violin.

I stood in shock and, I must admit, hurt as I took in the sight before me. “Holmes!” I cried in dismay. “We’re supposed to be at my wedding in an hour! You’re to be my best man!”

He stopped playing and looked at me with distant, lifeless eyes. “I will not be attending your farce of a wedding,” he said in the most broken voice I have ever heard in my life. He then turned his attention back to his violin, sounding a mournful, melancholy air.

I was flabbergasted. “Holmes,” I said sternly. “Stop this at once. And get dressed. I don’t know what you mean by ‘farce’, since I am quite ecstatic about my nuptials. We don’t have time for this foolishness.”

He put his violin down and lifted his head. His eyes were watering. “You don’t love her, Watson,” he said.

“Don’t be absurd,” I said in shock.

“You barely know her, Watson.” He walked toward me purposefully.

I stepped back. “I know that I love her,” I said, my voice shaking.

“But you don’t, Watson.” He came closer. I continued to back away. Finally I bumped into the door behind me. He stopped in front of me, mere inches separating us.

“I absolutely love my wife-to-be,” I insisted. “Stop this insanity.”

He reached out his hand and gently stroked my face with one long, thin finger. I began to tremble.

“I don’t know what I’ve done,” he said, continuing to stroke my cheek, “to force you away from me. But she’s not the one you want.” His face moved closer to mine. I could feel his breath ghosting across my lips.

“This is the cocaine talking,” I said, my voice unsteady.

“You know what’s between us, Watson. You feel it too.”

“No,” I whispered, and then his lips were on mine and he was kissing me and, God help me, I was kissing him back.

“No,” I cried and pushed him away. He stumbled back a step.

“You know it’s true,” he said.

I couldn’t deny it. “I’m getting married,” I said instead.

“Don’t do it, Watson,” he said. “You’ll regret it, almost immediately.”

“I have to do what’s right, Holmes. For both of us.” I began to turn, placing my hand upon the doorknob.

He reached out and gently stopped me, turning my face back toward his. One tear was coursing down his cheek. “If you leave,” he said, “everything we have is over.”

I nodded in understanding. I turned, opened the door, and walked down the stairs and out into the street. I did not look back.

And now I stood on that same street, months later, looking up into my former lodgings with deep regret. Holmes had been right, as usual. Although I cared for my bride, I could admit, if only in the deep recesses of my heart, that it was not her I loved. But Holmes, oh dear God, Holmes. I missed him terribly. It was as if a piece of me had been torn out that day, consumed by a dark emptiness.

I couldn’t stop myself, even if I had wanted to. I knocked on the door.

I was let in and led up the stairs. The sitting room door was open. Holmes and I looked at each other across the room. His manner was not effusive. It seldom was; but he was glad, I think, to see me
1. He waved me into an armchair – my old armchair – and threw me his case of cigars. He then stood by the fire, observing me.

I could scarcely breathe. I waited for him to say something, hoping against hope for a chance to return to him, to his life, to his heart.

His lips flicked upward, in the briefest of smiles. “Wedlock suits you
1,” he finally remarked.

I wanted to break down and cry.


1 Text quoted directly from SCAN.




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