The Last Ten Steps

May 20, 2017

Alexander Hamilton

“Goodbye Eliza. I love you and always will,” I tell my wife Elizabeth, as I shake her shoulder softly in an effort to wake her up before I leave. She sits up slowly, her eyes scanning me trying to figure out where I am going at this hour in the morning.
“Don’t go Alex please. For me, for your children, stay,” she says standing up and embracing me tears in her eyes.
“ It’s too late to back out now,” I reply. I don’t want to leave Eliza. I don’t want to leave my children, but a duel is going to be held today, and I am to be a part of it.
“You are required to have a ch ance to negotiate. Take advantage of it. Do everything in your power to not have to even load your weapon,” she says now tears streaming down her face.
“Trust me Eliza if I could I might, but it’s gotten this far and it won’t be that easy,” I say trying to defend my reasons for the duel, but it’s all just for show. I’ll miss my family more than words can describe if this is the end. I know I have to hold myself together for Eliza’s sake. 
“Come home tonight Alexander,” she says embracing me one more time.
“Just promise me one thing Eliza. If this is the end of us take care of the kids, and yourself. One more thing, make sure the world will remember our names,” I say trying so hard not to cry, but I still have tears in my eyes.  Eliza embraces me for a time that could be the last. I savor every second, and as she kisses me it leaves my lips fluttering knowing this could be the last she ever gives me
“ I love you,” she says as I walk out the door.
“I love you too,” I reply. My feet feel heavier with every step  I take away from not only my house, but my family. I turn around and stare at our house one last time before mounting my brown horse. Although she is muddy she stands tall and beautiful. As she rides off I thought the footsteps would feel less heavy since my horse is doing the walking for me, but as I look down at the dirt roads they only feel heavier.
Once we reach the Hudson river I slide of my horse and board a boat to cross the Hudson River. We cannot duel in my hometown, New York, because duels have been outlawed, but everything is legal in New Jersey. Not everything, but duels are. I look down at the reflection. Is this how I’m going to look before I die? I first point out things that could be better, but then I realize I will never be satisfied with how I look if this truly is the end. I look like me, and that’s what matters.
I’m on my way to a duel. A duel with Aaron Burr. The presidential election, was a difficult one. Two men I consistently disagree with, were the frontrunners. Aaron Burr, a man who has completely switched his party just to have more power, and Thomas Jefferson, a man who is always challenging and disagreeing with me. It was a hard decision, but I made one. I chose Thomas Jefferson. This is my consequence. A duel. One person wins, the other doesn’t.
I’ve had my fair share of duels, but I’ve never found it this hard to say goodbye. I try to convince myself that it’s because I have a bigger family, and therefore more to say goodbye to, but I’m not able to. Something’s different today than others. I’ve always been very confident in myself winning. I try to find that place again, but I can’t. “I’ll be fine I tell myself over, and over,” but it’s not effective.
My boat is nearing the dueling grounds where the duel will be taking place. My eldest son Philip died here in a duel with George Eaker, nearly the same place as our duel. I don’t want to be the second of the Hamilton’s to die here. I can do more for our country. I can do more for my family. Death is the easy way out of having to do those things is what George Washington, my boss, my general, my friend taught me. I can do more for this world if I fight for my life, and that’s what I intend to do. If I am to die today, it is not going to be without a fight.
I approach Aaron Burr who it appears has arrived, but five minutes ago. “Sir, let’s just get to it. I don’t have any negotiations, Would you like to share any?” says Burr, obviously nervous and eager to get this over with based on his rush to start.
I stand there trying to think of a negotiation for Eliza, but struggle to find any. I try to think deeper and harder, but still can’t find any. I try to slow my mind down, but I can’t. I’m too nervous.
“Do you have a negotiation?” Says Burr now getting impatient and a bit angry. I quickly shake my head no. Forgive me Eliza, I think in my head deeply wishing she could hear it.
Finally everything else is taken care of and we are ready to go. I stand back to back with Aaron Burr. Next we take ten paces back turn around and fire. I try to think about here and now, but my mind is drifting further with every pace I take.
Step One- My education wasn’t easy. So much of it was done myself. Back then I never dreamed that I would’ve accomplished what I did, but I know without it I would’ve accomplished nothing.
Step Two-  My mother died, next to me in a bed, and I was from then on an orphan.
Step Three- When we won the battle at Yorktown, it was triumphant, and gave us our freedom.
Step Four- My friend Marquis de Lafayette died for our freedom at that battle.
Step Five- George Washington has helped me every step along the way. He was a great- general, presidesident, leader, companion, and friend.
Step Six- The moment I met Eliza, I knew it was right, and I will always love her even if this is the end of us.
Step Seven-  My son Philip died taking these same steps in this same area. I can’t let that happen to me.
Step Eight- If this is the end I apologize to my country. I’m sorry I couldn’t do more for us. I apologize to my children. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there with you for longer. I apologize to Eliza. I’m sorry for leaving you so early. I love all of you. I know you have a long life ahead of you. Join me when you want, but I will wait forever if I have to. I love you.
Step Nine- I know this is going to be the end of me whether I want it to be or not. I’m just sorry to the people I have to leave and the country for not getting more accomplished.
STEP TEN- I can’t take the life of somebody. I can’t live with the guilt. I aim my pistol toward the sky, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it anyway, I also know that even if I aimed my gun at him it would be the end. I don’t want it to look like I am going to shoot him. I hope Aaron Burr is honorable and aims toward the sky, but I know it wasn’t going to happen. Sometimes decisions aren’t fully thought out. I’ve threatened his life, but if he doesn’t survive this duel it will have major effects on his daughter Theodosia. I know firsthand what it is like to be an orphan and a father, so as much as his decision will affect me I have somewhat an understanding of why he made it. I catch a glimpse of Aaron Burr’s face. He’s confident, as I have been at other duels. He found a reason to fight for his life. Hopefully he found a person he wants to be. He can’t keep changing who he is. I see his fingers squeeze the trigger. I’m expecting it when the bullet hits me. This is the end of my life, I don’t know what else to say but- Goodbye. Remember me.
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton
I hear the gunshot from our house. It was a faint boom, but it rang in my ears all the same. I know what happened, nobody has to inform me. I clutch my older sister Angelica’s hand tightly as it goes off. As soon as the ringing is out of my ears reality hits me full on. I let go of my sister’s hand and my knees let out before I begin screaming at the top of my lungs. When I don’t have any air left in my lungs I bury my head in my dress and arms and weep. I don’t know how long it’s been since I began weeping, nothing makes sense anymore. Angelica’s hand touches my back and I glance up at her. Tears are streaming down her face, as she kneels down next to me, “I...I….,” as she struggles to find words, but there are none there are no words to describe what, who we have lost.
“I need to see him again,” I whisper. She nods, and holds my hand as I get up.
“I do too,” she says just above a whisper. She holds my hand the whole way there. As we draw near where he is I grab her arm. She continues to walk, giving me all the encouragement I need to continue. I’m scared, but I know I need to see him.
As we approach I see him laying there. I run forward and grab his hand forgetting the amount of pain he’s in. As I pick up his hand he winces in pain, and I slowly drop it. “No… Don’t let...go,” he says. I kneel down beside him and I pick up his hand slowly. I take a look at his injury. It was right between the ribs. It makes my ribcage ache to see it and I wish I could take all of the pain from him. I would take all of it for him.
“Angelica….come,” he says wincing in pain with every word. Angelica comes from standing and watching in the background to kneeling beside him on the other side holding his other hand gently, careful not to hurt him.
The sight of my husband in this much pain is something I never wanted to see. He’s here and alive, and it gives me hope. When his friend Laurens shot Charles Lee in the side side he survived, can’t it be the same for my dear Alexander.  I try to tell myself it will and that everything will be fine, but as I look back at my love Alexander I know there’s no way. 
When Philip died he was there to comfort me. He told me nothing like that would ever happen again, because he would be there to stop it. As he's laying here dying anger never crosses my mind when I think about the promise he made, just sadness and pain.
I felt a sense of helplessness when I meant him. I was instantly charmed by him the moment he walked in the room, and as good of a job as Angelica did hiding it I eventually found out she was too. Now he’s laying in front of me dying, as helpless as it gets, and I feel like I can't do anything to stop it. These memories that have always been good ones bring me so much pain now, as I realize he will be gone soon. The tears never stop flowing. I wish I could cry a river and ride it back in time to stop this, I need to face him tell him I love him and tell him goodbye, but it’s so hard because I don't want to have to say goodbye.
“Eliza, I’m sorry,” he says.
“Stop wasting your time my love. You don’t need to apologize,” I reply.
“I love you Eliza,” he barely whispers, but the pain it brings him seems no less than when talked at a regular volume, and it hurts me just to see him. From dying
“I love you too Alexander,” I tell him truthfully. No marriage is perfect, not even ours. There has been many hills big and small in our relationship, but none of them matter right now. Any grudges I’ve held are seized from existence as I stare into his eyes. Staring into them brings back so many memories. I stare into his eyes for what seems like an eternity. The light in his eyes is all I’ll ever need again if he can live. Eventually they close, and as much as it breaks my heart to admit it I know it's over.
Angelica Schuyler Church
When Alexander died it was a heartbreak for me as well as Eliza. My dear Eliza was heartbroken when he died, but it was only for the first few months where she was just sad. After those few months she was still just as sad as she was during them, but she decided she was going to do everything she could to tell his story. She was so strong. When I would fall apart she would tell me that the time I spend crying is time I could be doing something for him. She always reminded me of how strong he was, and told me that we owe it to him to be equally strong. She would tell you I was there for her, but she was there just as much for me.
The night we meant Alexander was one I thought I would always regret. I was instantly charmed by Alexander. His eyes could take you to another world, he was sweet, very intelligent, and everything that I’ve ever wanted in a husband, except he was a bit of a flirt at first. I introduced him to Eliza so quickly, and I saw that she was just as or maybe more charmed by him than I was, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to take that'd from her as much as I had been talking for him. I spent a lot of my time regretting that night. I
did get married, but nothing was quite the same as the future I envisioned with Alexander. Now I have no regret from that night unless it could’ve done something to stop Eliza from getting heartbroken or Alexander from dying, but I never would’ve been able to live with the regret of knowing that I had kept my dear Eliza from her love, but I know it wouldn’t have. Now I spend my time living in the moment. Looking at the way Eliza moved on helped me realize that if I waste my time worrying about what I could’ve done better in the past, it takes time away from what I could be doing something better in the present.
Eliza’s determined to make sure people know Alexander’s story, and I support her in it wholeheartedly That’s what she spends all her time doing nowdays. I help her a lot, but it’s mostly her. She’s accomplished many things. She raised a lot of money for the Washington Monument, she openly speaks against slavery, and one of her biggest achievements is an orphanage. The first orphanage in New York City which she has ran for 25 years and counting. She helps raise all the children, and often points out how they’re similar to Alexander. She’s helped so many children it’s incredible! Alexander always said how easy dying was and that you have to fight for your life and try to do as much as you can while you’re alive. Our times will come soon, and it’ll be great to see Alexander again, especially for Eliza, but there’s always more we can do until that time. Eliza often ask if she’s done enough, and is always trying to do more for Alexander. She often tries to figure out what he would’ve done, and tries to do it. Without Eliza’s help it would’ve been hard to move on. She's done so much for him and I know as much as I loved him I know that she was a much better devoted amazing and incredible wife than I could've ever been to Alexander. I know how much she wants to see him again, but she's not going to stop doing everything she can in her lifetime to make sure everyone remembers him. Our times will come soon, and I hope you remember my beloved Eliza and Alexander.

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