June 8, 2019
It’s been over six weeks and I still can’t wrap my head around everything. After all that’s happened during the last five years, you’d think that the concept, or reality, of death would be easier to accept. Maybe what happened to Nat is hitting me so hard because Linda and I didn’t lose either of the kids after the snap. I was at work when that happened and I’ll never forget the horror of watching so many of my friends, people I’ve known for years, disintegrate into a film of dust as I watched helplessly. Seeing something like that stays with you forever. How could it not? I remember my hand trembling as I called the kids while rushing home to their mother. Finding out that they and their families were OK helped me focus as I made the torturous ninety minute ride home. I don’t think I took a full breath until Linda opened the door when I pulled into the drive. That was the point in time when I realized how truly fortunate we had been.
Two of Linda’s sisters and her brother were gone though, along with a big chunk of the rest of her family. Other than Linda and the kids, my family was essentially obliterated. Somehow, over the next few months, we regrouped and moved on. Now we have this. Don’t get me wrong, having everyone back seems like a God send to us, except that we know the truth. It was Nat and Tony who made that miracle occur, not a deity. They had help of course, but without them, it simply would not have happened.
Tony did what all dads would do. He took the hit so that his little girl would have a chance to grow into the proud, strong woman she was met to be. She will too, with a mom like Pepper and a dad like Tony, that’s hard wired into her DNA. But, at least Tony had a chance to go down swinging. Natasha’s death just seems so… needless. A soul for a soul? What asshole makes up these rules?
It’s not like I blame Clint or anything. I know that he would have taken her place in a heartbeat. Truth is, he tried—harder than most people would have. It comes down to the fact that Natasha truly believed it was her place and she fought to make that happen. Despite the heartache that decision caused, I won’t fault her. But, absolution doesn’t make it any easier to accept and I keep dwelling on whether there were other options. Maybe if Danvers could have been there it would have made a difference. Carol is who she is because of a stone. That might have given her the strength to rewrite the rules enough to avoid the need for anyone to jump off of a cliff. At this point, I guess we’ll never know.
I miss Nat to the core of my…well, soul. She, more than anyone, seemed like a second daughter to me. I think that’s because Natasha and Kristin are so much alike. They’re both confident, strong-willed, resourceful and smart. Kristin always considered Nat her little sister and I think that’s why they bonded so quickly. I don’t know anything about Natasha’s parents, but Kristin got most of her characteristics from her mom. Well, except for the strong-willed part. I’m about as stubborn as they come and she got that from me. But, with that one exception, the apple didn’t fall far from mother tree. I’ve always said that I could drop Kristin into the middle of a jungle with nothing but the clothes on her back and she’d survive. Natasha came from the same mold.
As a result, Nat slipped into our family as easy as pie. Every visit she made was a happy time for all. It was a little frustrating to find out how good she was at board games though. I mean, how can someone win forty-three straight games of “Trivial Pursuit”? It was a treat to play “Never Have I Ever” with her though. When you’ve lived the life Nat has, that game takes on a totally new meaning. How a girl could fit so many things into one trip to Bucharest, I’ll never know. Never have I ever laughed so hard.
Long weekends at the beach, cookouts, quiet afternoons fishing from the pontoon boat, evening camp fires, making “slime” with Ashlyn, telling late night ghost stories to all the grand kids, and Christmas Eve with the family—Nat seemed to want to do it all with us. I think it’s because she missed that part of life when she grew up in Russia. Her “trainers” shouldn’t have done what they did to her. The way they treated that child moves the concept of evil to an entirely different level.
Speaking of the grand kids, we haven’t told them yet. None of us are quite ready for that. Cruz has a bit of a crush on Aunt Nat and Ashlyn and Laken both adore and want to be just like her. Ashlyn will spend hours at a time practicing kicks, jumps and rolls in the back yard. I haven’t seen her try to take out her cousin Cruz with a pair of charged wands yet, but I know that it’s coming. I’m pretty sure she has it in her mind that she’s going to be Natasha’s protégé. Damn, there I go again, talking like Nat is going to walk in the front door any minute. Is it never going to end?
I guess that’s why I’m putting this all on paper. Maybe…maybe, if I write it all down, then I’ll be able to make sense of it—or maybe not. I just don’t know. What I do know is that there is a hole in our lives now so deep that I can’t see the bottom. It’s a hole just about the same depth as the fall Nat took when she jumped off of that freakin’ cliff. She gave the world, and the universe, a second chance when she did that. Let’s hope that we’re smart enough to make the most of her sacrifice and handle things a little better this time around. We owe that much to her—and a lot more
June 9, 2019
There’s just one thing I can’t shake. The Soul Stone was locked away and had to be bought with another soul—a soul for a soul, that was the deal. So, if Nat had to give her soul to release the stone to Clint, what happened when Steve gave the soul stone back? A soul for a soul, that’s the deal, right?