What Is Written

“Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.”

Pablo Neruda


Daryl keeps a journal at Alexandria.

He’s not sure why. Hell, he can’t even write all that well, but he does it because it makes him feel close to her. Makes him feel like now that she’s gone, she can read all these words over his shoulder and see all the things he didn’t get to say to her face.They’re not very consistent in length.

The first year barely fills a notebook.

Sometimes an entry is as simple as


Today it hurt worse when I remembered you’re not here.

Sometimes they’re pages of carry-on rants like


I don’t understand how you could have ever hoped for Maggie’s pregnancy because she’s a fucking nightmare. I told her this is the end of the goddamn world so she should stop bitching about pickles. even though he doesn’t want to write it down, he does, because he wants her to know I managed to find a jar or two just to shut your sister the fuck up. Then she had to go and smile at me and tell me she thought you loved me too and it hurt so fucking bad I almost hit her.

I think that might’ve been worse than weeks of her complaining.

She won’t stop asking for more pickles, either.

When she turns out not to be dead, despite years of practicing on paper, he still can’t talk to her like he wishes he could. When he overhears her jokingly complain about being bored and missing that prison library, he brings her books he finds on his next scouting mission. She moves through them fast and it’s kind of annoying because books are a bitch to carry, but it’s almost worth it when she starts requesting things. They’ve nearly worked through a dozen genres when she finally asks, in her awkward sweet way, if he could maybe keep an eye out for some romance. Blushes when she clarifies not the trashy kind and he shrugs and says he’ll look.

Beth is surprised when he shows up that night and hands her a plastic bag just…full of books. She barely manages a thank you before he’s gone. She flips through all the titles, covers she doesn’t recognize mixed in with things like Pride & Prejudice and even Pablo Neruda. Finally, she settles down in bed to read something she’s never seen before, silently mouthing the unfamiliar words in that annoying way Maggie hates.


Today it hurt worse when I remembered you’re not here.