My Dearest Friend,
The day came and went. The only sign to mark the anniversary of your departure was that dull ache that continues to live within the walls of my heart. The world, always in a hurry, refusing to sit still to mark the occasion, continued to spin on its axis. I awoke that morning, went about my routine as I always do, and tried not to think of what I was missing.
Or I'm still missing.
I received unsettling news yesterday. News that caused me to pause in my day and inhale deeply. Almost in the same manner as when I first learned of your death. A friend, or more a casual acquaintance, took his own life just days before. The shock I felt was immediate. As it is with most tragic news such as this. I immediately began to search my memory for any clues that could have been used as a type of foreshadowing of this event. Something, anything, that even hinted to what was to come. I could not find anything out of the ordinary. Not that I would have known.
But, I feel like I should have known. Should have suspected.
It's funny how we are so busy in our day to day lives that we never see the pain of others. We build our days around our to do lists. Rarely do we pause to stop and extend a greeting to the person waiting in line behind us at the grocery store. It's funny the way we see others, never fully understanding their story.
Funny and very sad.
Since the news of his death, I have tried to recall the type of despair required to take your own life. Many years ago I attempted suicide. Do you remember the story? Of course, mine was a half hearten attempt. But, I must have experienced something of that nature. Something that would have sent a signal to my brain to let me know that the person standing in front of me was in trouble. But, I couldn't recall the emotions. Like how a woman's body forgets the pain of childbirth, my soul fought against recalling the deep intense sadness that it takes to commit suicide. As try as I might, I just can not imagine feeling that way.
Even though I know I once did.
See, this is why I miss you. These thoughts and images floating around in my head would have kept us on the phone for hours. I would've rambled on as you listened and injected your opinion here and there. We would have said our goodbyes, but you would've known that my brain would keep me up for the rest of the night processing all the emotions that I was feeling. You would know this so well that the next morning would see you checking on me. Sure, you'd know I would be alright. But, you also knew that the little bit of outreach would go a long way with me. You would have known all this because you just knew me so well.
But, you've gone on. And I am still here.
My Red Head is concerned over the future of my love life. Remember how we used to talk about her ideas for dating and laugh at how innocent they all were? I still have to hide my smile as she asks me endless questions about who is right for who and so on. I worry that I am embedding in her a distrust of others as deep as mine is. I do not want to do that. Already she states she doesn't want children. This has me worried, but I realize she is only eight. She has many many years before the time comes for her to choose between work and love. And she will have to make that choice. We all do.
I tried to explain to her what you used to say. How you would always tell me that it would take a special man to court me. Even now, I grin at how old fashioned you would sound.
It's gonna take a special man to court you. You'd say. Mark my words, Wes. The first man to make you laugh and feel safe, hell, he's done for. He wouldn't be able to shake you no matter how hard he'd try.
Yeah yeah, I would say. Deep down I knew you were right. You and I both knew that safety equals trust in my eyes. I never wanted to admit that I am so simple in my needs. I wanted to be mysterious like a cold wind rustling through the leaves at night. I didn't want to be read by others. Exposed. Vulnerable. I wanted someone to work to get to know me. It always seemed the other way around. I'd work hard to earn their trust. Navigate through their minefield of rules. For once, I wanted someone to take that extra effort for me. I deemed myself worth it.
But, I'm not. Not really.
I should've asked him if he was ok. I saw him every week in the grocery store. Every Wednesday I was presented with an opportunity to inquire as to his happiness. His life. Give him an opening to share. Allow him to see that somebody out there cared enough to ask. That someone somewhere was not going to hold him to his past mistakes. But, I never did. Sure, I asked how Life was treating him. He'd shrug and mumble something. That should've been my first clue. I should've seen that Life was still punishing him for his wrong doings. I could've pressed further. However, I was always worried about making it to work on time. Even though I always arrived early.
If you were alive, you would say words that would ease my mind. You would say something sincere. Eloquent. You'd make me laugh. Or you'd just listen. I know this because I knew you. Only, apparently, not as well as you knew me.
Once again I was blind.
Sadness keeps me company tonight. My mind is in overload, processing all my thoughts and the different feelings that accompany them. It will be days before all this finally leaves me. Before I can put it to rest as a memory to recall in later years as a story. Or maybe not at all. I do not like the way I deal with matters of the heart. How it takes so long for me to deal with anything unpleasant. I feel that I take up a great amount of energy trying to handle things that others would process through in a matter of days or even hours. I am accused of being too analytical. Maybe I am. You used to tell me, that while my tendency to analyze everything can be exhausting, it was what made me me. And what made my stories mine. I remember you urging me not try to change my spots. That God put them on me just so.
We all know God doesn't make mistakes.
I will leave you now. I am eager to get to bed. I find that, when nestled between the covers, my mind goes on autopilot. This allows a wide scope of analytical ideas and images to roam freely through my mind's eye. I enjoy this time. I feel it is the only time that I can freely be myself.
And I wouldn't trade it for a good eight hours of sleep for nothing.
As always, I miss you.