Wow. This journey has been nothing short of amazing. So much has changed since that night, almost two years ago, when a Twitter Q&A with Jessica Capshaw spawned the beginning of a story. I spent a week after that, asking everyone who would listen the same question: "If you could go back and save the love of your life, would you?" And it was my best friend, Alyssa, who finally gave me the answer I so desperately needed. She said it would be selfish, to challenge fate for your own personal gain.
This story has existed in various different forms, rewritten profusely. It was a request for proof reading that got me one of the greatest online friends I've ever had, Kaitlyn, who held my hand through the beginnings of this final rewrite. This story, as it stands today, took shape over Skype, with her challenging me and suggesting new twists and guiding me from the emotional, but plot-flat, piece I began with. She was there for me through the roughest parts of that first year, and it was this story that she used as a reminder to keep me going. On my worst nights, she made me promise to hang on until I finished Extraordinary Measures. Kaitlyn, that was the greatest challenge you ever gave me. You pushed me to be more than what I was, and I sit here two years later as a completely different person. You helped me to find purpose, and for that I am forever grateful. I love you, Kaitlyn.
I want to take this time to thank Anna, too, who has also been along for the ride for more than a year. She's the one who has proofread every single chapter, fixed my shitty grammar wherever she could (I'm sorry for using big words that I don't always understand), and posted chapters for me when I couldn't. She has been my voice of reason for the last few chapters of this story - doing everything from sitting on Skype and staring at me until I write something, to actually writing skeleton pieces for me when I couldn't get certain things right as a whole. We won't even mention the ridiculously sweet things she's done outside of this story (like express mailing me pumpkin cookies for my birthday - twice over!). Anna, you are my best friend. Thank you for the long talks and the stupid texts and the amazing letters and gifts and everything else you've bestowed on me. I can't even begin to say how thankful I am to have an amazing person like you in my life. I love you, Anna.
There are so many other people who have been integral to Extraordinary Measures. Tahnee, who read one of the very first drafts and pushed me to continue. Catherine, who's made me laugh at 3am when I just couldn't think any longer. Alyssa, who's read my writing since we were in high school and still finds time to encourage me, despite our crazy hectic lives. My mom, who will eventually be allowed to read this, who has not-so-gently reminded me (many times) that sex is a part of the life experience and to ditch my prude ways for the sake of the storytelling - I'm still working on that, Mom, but I promise I'll get there. To three girls I loved in different ways while writing this: Jessii, mia tesoro, and Nikki, I don't know that any of you will ever read this, but you each taught me something different about love and relationships and being true to myself and for that I am grateful.
Finally, I want to thank Alejandra. I've tried, more times than I'd like to admit, to put into words how grateful I am for you. I've watched you from afar for years, but it was this story that gave me the courage to talk to you. It kick-started our friendship, and now I don't know what I'd do without you. I have no idea what lies ahead for us, what our lives will look like in a year, but I don't want to imagine a single day without you. I think I've spent my whole life looking for you. Thank you, for all you've done along this journey - the artwork that inspired me to keep going, that long and beautiful review that will forever be saved in my Tumblr inbox, for being my friend through everything. You've never judged me and I think that is the greatest gift of all. Te amaré para siempre, mi amor.
A year ago, there was also an elaborate soundtrack for this story. Though many of the pieces are no longer relevant, its importance still carries weight. If you wish you listen to any of the songs that were used for inspiration, they are listed below:
1. Youth by Daughter
2. Stay by Hurts
3. Poison and Wine by The Civil Wars
4. How to Save a Life (Live iTunes Pass) by The Fray
5. Tremble (Studio Rehearsal) by Charlotte Martin
6. Fix You (Orchestral Arrangement) by Coldplay
7. Your Ghost (Cover) by Greg Laswell
8. Greatest Prize by Nat and Alex Wolff
9. If I Die Young (Cover) by Julia Sheer
10. I Don't Know Anything at All Anymore by Rob Giles
11. If You Can't Sleep by She & Him
12. Crazy Ever After by The Rescues
13. A Wish by Gregory & the Hawk
14. Our Farewell by Brunuhville
15. Wish by Sutton Foster
16. A Thousand Years (Cover) by The Piano Guys
17. This Old Love by Lior
18. The Lonely by Christina Perri
19. Demo (4) by Sara Ramirez
20. Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift
21. The Beacon by A Fine Frenzy
22. These Broken Hands of Mine by Joe Brooks
23. How to Save a Life (Cover) by an old Tumblr friend, Deborah and her friend, Michelle
I want to thank all of you, the readers, for continuing to read despite that ridiculous "hiatus" (sorry about that) and who've put up with my giant breaks in between chapters and hectic updating schedule and self-indulgent author notes. I have no apologies for who I am, for how I chose to go about this, but thank you for tolerating all of it. Thank you for all of the reviews.
Thank you to one reader, who pep talked me several times, and whose town was chosen for Senna and Gardenia's last name. You know who you are; you have good, Canadian maple syrup running through your veins.
Thank you, to the readers have emailed me in the last week or so, begging me not to truly let this go. This story is finished, in regards to how it stands as fanfiction, but I do agree that I am not done with it. Wherever it goes from here, it was the support of readers on this site that got me to the end. I promise I will do right by it in the future, when I pick it up and tear it to pieces again.
This journey, on this site, was kick started on this day, one year ago. My twentieth birthday was when I began posting this story here on FF and so it's only fitting that it comes to an end on this same day, my twenty-first birthday. Extraordinary Measures has been so much more than a writing experience for me; it has spanned more than a year of my life, it has kick-started friendships, it has taught me things about myself as a person and a writer, and it marks the first novella-length writing project I've ever finished.
I close this tale with a hearty shot of coconut rum. Cheers and thank you for reading along. I hope your journey was Extraordinary, too.