At the start, I didn’t know he would change me. I didn’t know I needed him to.
I guess I knew deep down that I needed something–that feeling you get once in a while, when you stop to think about your job and your mates, your normal every day, and you just sort of know somehow that there has to be more out there than your little life. But most of the time, I didn’t think about it. I just did what I’d always done, day after day.
Even after I met him, I didn’t know I needed him. I can’t forget the first time I met him and how mad I thought he was–turns out he really was as mad as all that. The things he said, the things he showed me–I couldn’t believe I’d always existed in the same universe as all that! I don’t know why he took me with him, but he did. And I won’t ever be the same. ‘Cause once you’ve seen the world out there, you can’t come back and live like you did before. Everything is different. It’s like you’ve been given new eyes and you can see all sorts of things other people can’t. He showed me how tiny I am in this great big universe full of wild things. He showed me I’m capable of being more than I was, of living a bigger life.
But it’s more than what he showed me. It’s what he taught me, how he changed me, just by being who he was. He was mad for adventure. If people were running away from something, he was running towards it with that cheeky grin of his. He was no coward, and he expected me to be brave, too. But he didn’t ask me–or anyone–to do something he wouldn’t do himself. He was always risking his life for others–the first to jump in the fire. It was frightening to travel with him, knowing that we weren’t safe and I could lose him, or my life. But I was willing to take the chance, because it was real, and it was exhilarating. Every risk we took for someone else, every person’s life we treated as valuable… it made my life feel more valuable, my existence really worth something. He was impossible, and stern, and always scolding. But you know, he was really just challenging me, and making me smarter, wiser, braver, kinder. He demanded that I be a better person than I was before. To really think. To really live up to things I believed were important.
I hope that I am better than I was. I hope I am kinder, and wiser, and braver, and that he’s proud of me. I hope that I was more to him than a passenger–some piece of luggage. I hope I can carry on doing the things he taught me: to think before I act. To value all life. To appreciate the mysterious and wonderful. To be the first and last to stand up and do what’s right.
It’d be easy to mistake the Doctor for a god because he was so clever and brave and powerful and not like anyone else in the universe. It would have been easy to just be in awe of him, if he hadn’t let me see his best and his worst. He was not perfect. He was an alien but with faults and flaws and needs that any human would recognize: rashness, selfishness, arrogance…most of all, loneliness. He let me see his real self, honest and true, and I hope I honored that by being a true companion and friend. I tried to be.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next. My Doctor is gone, and I don’t know who or what he has become. Will he be as brave? Reliable? Selfless? Adventurous? Honest? I don’t know if he is someone who will want me to follow him, or someone I can even follow.
What I do know is that my Doctor left a legacy behind in me. I can be brave and wise and kind the way he taught me to be. I could never go back to who I was before the Doctor came into my life. I will never forget the adventure, the wonder, the running, the danger, standing up to save the world again and again, being someone whose life matters. I will never forget him. I only hope he hasn’t forgotten me.