island shores

Oliver’s Journal (In The Aftermath)

When I think about Lian Yu, when I dream about it, I see images of pain and blood and death. My upbringing of privilege and egotistical vanity seems far removed from the perilous life I was reborn to when I washed up on its rocky shores. That island has always been a dark streak staining my life, a harbinger of hard survival that took me to a place I thought I’d never come back from. It was in my soul where I was taught how to let my humanity go. In my dreams, I can still see myself engaging in my first kill, as if stepping outside all restraint and watching that rock go up and down, up and down, up and down on the head of that mercenary—until there was nothing left but an unrecognizable mass of tortured flesh, of bone and brains pulped into a jellied horror. All the blood that sprayed onto me seemed an apt and bitter shade justifying my sin.

Now that the island has been destroyed by Chase’s malignant purpose, I should feel some release from my past. But I still can’t let go of it. Felicity mentioned to me the other day that Lian Yu’s destruction was a symbolic purging. I can shed its bloody memory. She told me that the person I became there no longer exists. To a certain extent, that is true. I am no longer that inexperienced kid afraid of never being rescued. That long ago version of Oliver Queen was shaped by anger, molded by a strong instinct to live at the cost of other’s lives. Compassion, empathy, and yes, love—they were unfamiliar barriers I felt would infect my strength. Ironically, I was alive because I developed a willingness to kill, and yet I was dead inside.

There is a part of Lian Yu I suspect is always going to be with me. It will be incarnate every time I look at William, every time I see the death of his mother bringing a dull gaze to his eyes. It will be there manifested in the loss of John’s arm and the conflicting emotions in Thea’s heart over Malcolm’s sacrifice. Everyone that day was affected by the aftermath of Chase’s insanity. And as if the island gave birth to evil offspring, Black Siren, Evelyn and Talia are still out there, still on the fringes of evil intentions. There will be more violence and harm to come while they remain uncontained.

If there is anything remotely positive from all this—it’s Felicity. When she kissed me just before everything went to hell, it was like an elixir, a surge of hope and promise, and a reason to survive. In her cut and worried face, in her searching eyes; I saw the future we’ve been denying ourselves. In that moment, I saw what each of us brings to the other. It is love and happiness and a long life together.  For the first time in what seems like an eternity, I felt I finally deserved her, that me as a part of her and her part of me—it felt like being ordained by prophecy. That kiss and brief hug was a prayer, and every time I think of it, I want to fall to my knees and thank God. I used to think I was not worthy enough to have a guardian angel watching over me.  All my dark life has been a deterrent from that kind of grace and belief. Now it’s a shield protecting me from doubt and failure and fear.

Felicity told me in that hospital room that she was sorry for being a hypocrite, that she had started down the same path I traveled . My love, it is the other way around. You are the kind of person I aspire to be and that is worth striving for.

Everybody who is a part of my life will struggle with what happened on the island. They will be looking for acceptance. They will be looking for the inner strength to persevere, to survive. Maybe I can shed my darkness enough to shine some light for them, to show them how to come back home. 

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