It was March. If I looked outside of my window, I saw snow melting, the sun trying to peek through the persistent overcast skies. I was wearing one of your t-shirts and across it read “Welcome to paradise.” Stupid shirt, I was in hell.
Sometimes I would still call out to you. In the morning when I was still half-asleep and plenty delirious, facing the wall, I would feel your presence behind me, turn to greet you with a good morning, always half-expecting your sleepy smile, your “You and me, love.” Instead met by emptiness. I still pretend you are there at times, sometimes it gets me through the day.
Your absence from my life, this world, everything, would just hit me out of the blue. I remember thinking I heard your laugh while walking through the woods behind my house. You took me there and we laid underneath my favorite tree, on a blanket, and sometimes we couldn’t stop talking, sometimes we couldn’t find any words inside of ourselves. Made love a couple of times, carved our initals into the bark, did drugs and thought we discovered the meaning of life. I sat against that tree and cried until nothing was left inside of me, drained, hollow, empty. I am sitting beneath our tree right now, just me, no you, and I am cold here without you. This place only had significance with you here, now it kind of drains the life out of me - leaves me worn out fried wrecked obliterated tired burnt out, exhausted.
I still remember that night, the phone call, you and me, no, me, just me now. I remember the way my heart broke, inside of my chest, crushed into a million little pieces, floating around trying to find their way back together, an irreparable puzzle, the game of life, congratulations, you lost.
At your funeral I lied and said I hadn’t seen you in three months. It took every ounce of willpower I had to not drive into oncoming traffic afterwards, anything to hear you say it one more time, but killing myself meant killing what was left of you inside of my heart, and I could not die just because you could no longer live.
I want you to know that I am sorry. I feel you here with me sometimes, inside of my heart and inside of my mind, behind me when I am pouring a cup of coffee, when I cannot find it in me to get out of bed some mornings. I’m sorry you felt this world wasn’t enough for you, that I wasn’t enough for you, that for some sad reason, inside of your tired little head, you were never enough for anyone, especially not yourself.
You were dead long before that dreadful day in December. An empty soul attached to a lively body, it didn’t make sense to you, everything you’ve ever known jumbled around inside of your head. When you put the gun to your head, were you thinking about me? I think you were so focused on winning, you did it love, you finally figured it out - the only way to get rid of the demons inside of your head was to force them out yourself.
One bullet, eviction notice on the door, one second, you and me, the next, no more you, just me, barely me, all you, crimson staining the blue paint of our bedroom walls. No more you, no more me, just in different ways.
You might have escaped them, but these demons are clever. They found life inside of my head right after I opened the door and found you there, no longer alive to some, but finally free to me.
I am laying here, against this tree, looking at the sky, which has just opened up, the sun trying it’s best to peek through. For a while I thought I couldn’t breathe without you, but I can see my breath in front of my face, a foggy kind of white, disappearing into the atmosphere, still there but invisible, changed, kind of like me.
There was life before you and there will be life after you. If you can hear me, I want you to know I miss you, I love you, I’m sorry, I forgive you, I will forget you for a while, but I will always remember you.