A Letter to Archie
You died loyal. You died true. You were my friend. My best friend. Since the beginning.
You were the only one who did not laugh when I was sick aboard the Justinian. You were the only one to smile in the hardest of times. Your eyes always grinned in battle. You were having the time of your life, weren't you? But do you see my laughing now, Archie? Do you? I know that's what you would have wanted. But I cry. Cry for the times we will never have. Cry for the memories that cling to me. I cry for you and the fact that no one will ever see your grin.
Is that your blood? I asked. Why did you deny it? I could have saved you! I could have! You left me alone. Wellard's dead, Buckland's changed.
The bravest man I ever knew. You jumped off a cliff with one man who could not swim and another who was afraid of heights. Why didn't you die then? Why?
You died in a lie. I alone pushed Captain Sawyer you declared. You lied for me. You died for me.
Did you have a death wish, Archie? Did you?
Remember the prison? You wanted to die then. But you didn't. You held on because you thought I needed you. So why didn't you hold on now? I need you more than ever.
I am commander of the renamed ship, Retribution. I would give anything to have you here. You would have had great fun, getting away with murder with I as your commanding officer. I can imagine it, Archie. Your jokes about my fear of heights, your grin in the lineup. Had it been Matthews or Styles, I would have them flogged. But your jokes would always seem funny, somehow.
And now you're gone. You grinned before you collapsed; you grinned on your deathbed. Are you grinning where you are now? Do you remember me? Do you miss me?
Don't you see now how wrong lies are? If you had kept your sharped tongued mouth shut, you'd be here, grinning, laughing, and probably asking to jump off another cliff.
I would have loved to go through the ranks with you, Archie. But now I can't. And there's nothing I can do about it.
No sense crying over spilled milk you would say. But you were more than spilled milk. You were my friend, Archie Kennedy. My best friend.