“… then there were the eyes. Those old man’s eyes. When Smith was at his best (and he was frequently wonderful) it was all in the eyes; exhausted eyes, furtive and alien and so very, very old. More even than Eccleston and Tennant - who weren’t at all bad at it themselves - But Smith excelled at the sudden switch of tone, the moment where he’d pivot on a single phrase and the antic clown would fall away, replaced with someone aged and scarred and deeply unknowable. Obligatory Tom Baker aside, no other Doctor has seemed so truly ancient and otherworldly …”— Tom Phillips. “Matt Smith, the rise and fall of the hipster Doctor”, New Statesman, 3rd June 2013.
Ode To The Eleventh: Constructed from thoughts through the past few months, written on the night of Christmas Day.
It’s very late right now, though the house is sleeping soundly, there's a light on-- at the end of the house across the airport. And It belongs to me.
I'm sitting here under candlelight, scribbled notes, some doodles scattered around, and the glow of a screen in the kitchen of my home. There's one mug of tea at my arm's reach; and another at the opposite end, for my guest of the night. Most often, I'd set a table so I can have some tea with people I love [but cannot see]. It's a thing I enjoy doing when the nights run long and a little alone.
...And I can start to see him now. Lovely, dim green eyes, hanging in a mixture of tenderness and a hint of old sorrow— I took the time, to imagine him and remember him at his clearest and most touchable-- his eyes, his hands, and the texture of his hair; I envisioned him until I had no doubt I could touch him should I reach out. It made me smile.
"...Hello Doctor." I say in my head.
...And after a bit of thinking-- [maybe a wish to touch the face in front of me], I've found that I do know a little more than I did before; I've learned a little, cried a little. Died a little. I feel I may know a bit of the way a heart can heave, the way you can bend from the weight of the things you've gone through-- the way someone looks sad when they think no one is looking. I find that I do know some things. I've spent time getting to know the way things can sit on a heart.
Doctor, this is the first time I've addressed you personally and directly-- not in tears for myself or for yourself, not in a position to save or to hold, and not from an imagined hand or sleepy, wishful eyes. This is from me to you. I remember when I first saw you with that face, and I really don't think I knew how much you'd grow on me. I really don't think I knew. But I'm glad it happened. It's amazing how you run into someone and you don't know why.. but you decide to stick with them. No reason, no logic. It's a very special thing, it's always been a special thing. From Gallifrey to Totter's Lane, to Stonehenge, Space Florida, and onwards. I know… that you doubt every good thing said to you, I know there are times where you sincerely feel that you have been given nothing but heartache, and have brought that same heartache upon your loved ones. I bet you deeply believe that you have been cursed with the deepest, the absolute darkest loneliness-- and that you deserve it; But it is not so.
Did you know, that you have impacted more people then you will ever know? Even with your mighty TARDIS and endless ability to travel and see anything and everything in space and in time-- you will never be able to visit and sit across the table from each and every person who has grown to love you, so ardently and dearly-- and they will most definitely shed tears for you. Not from the heartache of you ruining or confusing their lives, but the tears that can only come for someone [so] loved; someone who has sewn into their lives, a story of love and a passion for life.
The want to continue to live, or to continue to dream-- the phrase that made them desire to become better, stronger, kinder-- and to listen to their lives and see the wonder around them.
Some have come to grips; have stopped waiting-- and started making their own adventures. You've planted the seed of a Better Life, the nuance in makeshift wisdom and a pinch of Childishness, Darkness and Kindness, Embracing—as well as learning to let go.
You kept living, when you would lose someone else, get lost, find yourself alone again-- you did your best. Maybe you cried a little. Maybe screamed some days. And with every new season you kept living for, you aided people in living on, even if you didn't realize it-- you taught them to continue to live; because there's so much to see. Because-- as we are not done with these lives-- You were also not finished with your story.
Know that your imperfection is loved, know that your losses taught us to feel empathy, and know that your love for life has inspired a very dear people.
For me, personally—You’ve been a friend. A very dear friend when I had none. And I suppose the time has come to say that I love you. So much.
"It all just disappears doesn’t it? Everything you are? Gone in a moment,
like breath on a mirror, any moment now he’s coming. The Doctor. Yep, and I always will be, but times change and so must I. Amelia, the first face this face saw. We all change, when you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear, I will always remember when the Doctor was me.”
And not a year ago, I found myself saying the same thing. That in a way, we too regenerate-- and I like to think you told me this before you told the world.
You see, in knowing you—I’ve come to know others. And I've come to know pieces of myself. I’ve read stories from the lives of Lovers and Wanderers, poets and Mothers, Young ones and dreamers and thinkers alike; they’ve put themselves into the story. Your character has opened our eyes to the frightening, but wonderful truth of Becoming, and it’s something that will stay with us for the years to come. I think that anyone and everyone who's met you along the way, whether if 8 years ago, 50 years ago, or just last year; each of them, [the ones that remember] has found a second heart in themselves.
We feel like we're a special people who've seen the universe, who see the Universe. There's some great stories about space voyages, and even time travel-- but nothing like this. Nothing like the madman and his Box.
.. and I think you've reminded us of the phrase 'What if?' What if we dared to be something more than what this world had intended? What if we choose to travel the stars and walk through dreams—and to meet people who desire to do the same? You’ve shown them [or rather, us] that we can live after Loss, that we can move after heartbreak— that it is alright to cry at times, and to help all the time. That age or race or creed or career does not matter in the slightest. That we were made to be absolutely magnificent.
You’ve shown them, you’ve reminded them— of the word Possible.
As you find rest, I hope I find rest. As you finally close this chapter, I will strive to continue my own story. As you finally find a place to rest this form—I remember a song that says: “Rest now, dear warrior—rest now. And let the cloak of light cling to your bones.”
You’ve brought us much joy, Doctor. You’ve brought me joy, and your silhouette is seared into my own hearts and in the blood that runs through my veins. I can't imagine ever forgetting you. Never, you dear man.
Even if I make my mark on History, even if I grow old and sentimental and stubbornly deny my age-- while I'm watching young people playing in the yard; I'll then remember my dearest, oldest friend.
I'll remember-- and what I'll do, long past the midnight curfew, is I'll tell the young children a story; show them the drawings that a young astronaut made some years ago-- and hide a grin as they're sitting starry-eyed at the realization that there could very well be a Madman that lives beyond the stars. I'll tell 'em how we took on the world. In different places, maybe-- different times. But what's a story without a bit of dramatic, loveable exaggeration?
On the darker side of things, I feel that some of these events were things you were never meant to shoulder. But through all of those tears, All of those nights you cried all alone; They're past—so fulfill your need for stillness and peace; let that new face take the mantle-- And as you sleep, we will walk to find the place where we belong.
We're all stories in the end, after all-- and I can't help but think you've made our stories a little better, a little more 'Fishsticks and Custard'; with a pinch of optimism, and a few more far-flung hopes. To have a chapter where we just shout "Geronimo!" and jump into adventure-- only to meet the most impossible girl in the universe, and have a friend that looks slightly more like a potato. I think we all wish we could meet Vincent van Gogh and give him some tea and Jammy Dodgers. [Because that makes life all the better]
I think our lives are going to have more bunk beds, flying fog-fish and sunflowers. And let me tell you, this part of the story-- where I meet the man in the bow tie; [and he surely meets me] is one of my favorites.
From the Hearts of these dear people, from the very heart of who I am. I say, thank you.
You are, and always will be-- my Doctor.
Thank you for those beautiful lines, for putting into words those feelings my heart(s) is full of but that I never could quite express.
I hope that he'll know how much we love him
A wonderful heartfelt tribute to an amazing Doctor.
*raises glass of blackcurrant juice that looks like wine*
To a great and amazing Doctor! And to his successor.