RATING: G
NOTES: New series. See Part One.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the West Wing or any of its related
characters. Don't sue.
SUMMARY: Different people of the West Wing reflect on their lives so
far.

I've never been very good with goodbyes. I don't believe I ever
will be. There's just something about saying goodbye that feels
so... final. When I was getting loaded into that ambulance, all I
could think about was not wanting to say goodbye. I think watching
Mandy read the card was the best that I could do. Now I can only move
on to other things, clear my mind and that kind of crap, right?
I'm so tired. I wish my father were here. I still miss him.
The day's more than halfway done and I still have a ton of work
left to do. I think I've got to be the hardest working man in this
country, right after Leo of course. Leo is a good man, a strong man
and I'm proud of him. I know that seems patronizing, but I am. He's
gotten through so much more than I ever could. He's survived a war,
countless runs in the field of politics, including the high stress
position of Secretary of Labor, alcoholism, drug addiction,
conquering both, his wife left him and he has to deal with the
President more than any of the rest of us and he does it.
That in itself is quite commendable.
Donna seems quiet today. It's a rare thing for Donna to be quiet.
I hope she's okay. I worry about Donna sometimes. She goes out with
those gomers with high hopes and then she gets let down. She deserves
better than that. She deserves someone intelligent, charming, caring,
sensitive; someone who's worthy of her intelligence, charm, kindness,
caring and sensitivity. None of the guys she goes out with fall into
that category.
Personally, I can only think of one person who does.
I want to go home. I really don't want to be here today. Surely
the world can survive without me for the rest of today. I'm tired and
I don't feel like dealing with people today. I don't think I have the
energy to be myself today. I'm not sure I've had any of that energy
in the last six months.
I love my friends. They all have these quirks and follies and
things that just keep me going. I think it's funny how much of a
family we all are. Even Toby has these moments when he's a big
brother to any one of us. And, as a big brother, he messes up every
once in a while. CJ is the mother, I think, or mother hen, but
anyway, she's always taking care of us. She yells at us, punishes us,
and then she's there for us when we need her. When I need her...
Sam is the little brother of course. Always getting into trouble,
throwing what Toby affectionately calls a "whining tantrum" every
once in a while, and being the youngest, most idealistic of us all,
he's definitely the baby of this family. I think sometimes he grows
up and other times I think he becomes a little kid again. Like with
this GDC thing; he threw a tantrum, partly for good reason, but for
the most part, he was just whining. He should have known better than
to set up the meeting in the first place without talking to Toby or
Leo or even me. I love Sam, but he has a lot to learn about politics.
Leo is our father. Not that I could ever see Leo and CJ (as the
mother and father) married... Well, yes, actually I could, but
that's just such an odd mental picture, I'm going to dismiss it...
Anyway, Leo takes care of us too. He's a grumpy, harsh, old man but
when he yells at us, it's because he cares. It's because he's
disappointed in us; he'd hoped we'd do better than whatever we'd
done. He yells at us when we do something we shouldn't have done. He
expects us to be the best we can be and he drives us to it. Yeah, he
takes care of us like a father would. I love that guy.
My chest hurts sometimes. I've got this long pinkish scar to
remind me of why. I don't relive the shooting too often anymore, not
the way Stanley said that I did. I'm seeing this guy named Peter, the
guy that Stanley recommended. For some reason, I didn't want to go
back to the first Stanley, to the one that I saw for so long. I just
felt like I needed to start anew. I felt like the shooting took place
long after I had last seen Stanley. It was something unrelated. I
just wanted something new.
When I was fifteen, my best friend was shot because he was
Jewish. He was on his way home from the movies when these three guys
jumped him, pulled him into an alley, called him "kike" over and over
again as they beat him, and then they finally shot him in the head. I
had almost gone to the movies with him that day, but I stayed home
because my father was leaving town the next day and I wanted to spend
time with him. At my friend's funeral, I wondered the same thing I
wonder every time I see this scar: Why not me? Thousands of people
die each year from gunshot wounds, but not me.
Why?
Leo himself asked me "How did that bullet not kill you?" Doesn't
he know that I wonder that every single day? Why didn't it kill me?
Don't get me wrong; I'm more than ecstatic to be alive... But why
am I alive and Ira is not? Why did he die at age fifteen and I
didn't? Why did Joanie die and not me? My father, all those people in
Vietnam that Leo fought with... Why not me? Why did that pilot die
crashing into a plane and not me?
I wonder about it a lot. There's so much complexity to this thing
called life. So much has changed and it was all in a simple gunshot.
I'm still alive though. I survived the gunshot. I don't know if they
understand why it is that I became so obsessed with physics. It was
because I needed to figure out those damn complexities, the ones that
wrote down somewhere "Josh Lyman will not die. Not yet." I was just
trying to figure out why. I just needed to.
I need to call my mother. Her birthday is coming up and I haven't
talked to her in a while. She came down after the shooting, to take
care of me. However, she was always such a fuss, and there were
things for her to take care of back home, so she didn't stay for more
than a month. Donna took care of me after that. She took care of me
everyday. It got so that she was practically living with me. The
strange thing is that I loved it. I loved having her around all the
time, taking care of me and being my friend.
The friend thing was the only thing that didn't feel 100% right.
It felt like it should have been something more. It still does. I
wonder what that means.
Nothing. Nothing at all.
So let's see here: I'm a graduate of Harvard and Yale, a
Fulbright scholar, White House Deputy Chief of Staff... And yet
I'm single. I have a fan club, but I`m single. I have ex-girlfriends
but no girlfriend... You know, I never wanted Mandy to work here.
Now that she's leaving I almost feel bad. I mean, sure, I didn't like
her all that much, but there was a time, not that long ago, when I
loved her. Love is such a powerful thing, you know? I don't get along
perfectly with her, but part of me still loves her.
As much as I hate the thought, I should probably get back to
work. I have a staff meeting coming up soon. It's time for me to
gather up the energy that I need to be me. Another few hours and then
I'll go back home. I'll let Donna go home too. She'll appreciate
that, going home before ten o'clock at night. I'm sure she will.
She's always telling me how much she would. Of course, tomorrow it's
going to be a raise or a trip to Hawaii or Aspen, armed with a set of
skis or something like that. That I can't give her.
I want to get up and take a walk around. Maybe I can get the
blood flowing and stop thinking about all this stuff. I get depressed
thinking about this stuff. I think the important thing is that
everyone's okay; everyone's alive. I'm alive, and it occurs to me now
that it's nut just me. We're all alive. Me, Leo, the President, CJ,
Toby, Sam, Zoey, Charlie... My main man, Charlie.
Donna is alive. Donna is walking towards me. Donna is
beautiful... Okay time to go back to work.

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