I’m watching some Buffy tonight for the first time in a year or two, and suddenly it hits me like a kick to the stomach that knocks the breath from my lungs.
I’m Giles now.
I’ve been Xander and Spike and Willow (never Buffy, never her), but I’ve been the plucky assistant, the brave and helpful pal, the sometimes-monster, but always there, direct and up front with the hero, sharing her joy and pain, and now suddenly and awfully and out of the blue, my reflection has changed, and there I am in the story, different.
And perhaps I’ll be a part of the adventure still, but never at the heart of it, never a hero in this story.
Not any more.
(And I used to be an Anya or an Oz or a Cordelia. But still never a Buffy, never her.)
And I pause the DVD and I stop and I think (because I am a Giles now), but there’s no coming back, not now, not never, not any more.
I am old and I shall never be a Riley or an Angel again.
And I think to myself:
I am still here, in this story. I may no longer be at the heart of it, but here I am, reflected.
I am Giles.
I am Joyce.
I am content.