It's coming to seven years since his death. It hits me sporadically, and tonight it has chosen to do so. I think the last time might have been a few weeks ago actually, when I was in bed during the morning hours and I could feel myself crying in my sleep because somehow the thought of him entered my dream. I had no memory of that gentle mourning until much later in the afternoon. It comes and it goes. Grief is weird.
However, tonight feels a little different. My sadness is mixed with a little anger, betrayal, confusion. And overbearing disappointment. How someone's death has felt like a huge missed opportunity, how the course of our lives both could have greatly intercepted and altered our paths if he had only allowed me that chance. But he didn't. I want to know what he was thinking just before he put the needle in his arm. Did I even cross his mind? Did he stop to wonder that maybe someone out there was wandering around hoping to greet his face? I wanted to charm the pants off of him. I was so eager to do it. But he never gave me that chance. He chose death instead and that angers me.
I see his picture in obituaries online and it feels so cold and stale. It's from his high school graduation, and based on the boy I knew, he probably couldn't wait to get out of that suit and into something more comfortable. And I read these notes from friends and family, offering love and condolence to his parents. Are they still grieving? I've never met them before. I don't want to. I'm scared the egoist and naturally vulnerable girl within me would introduce myself as that missed opportunity, the lifeboat he chose to let raft around in a bar somewhere while he stuck himself with heroin.
I'm grateful that our story has allowed me to write something I'm proud of, but I would trade that piece any day for that night to have happened differently. Even if he had decided he wasn't into me or I had gotten too drunk and made a fool of myself. I don't care, any of those possibilities. But deep down I know, at least I tell myself I know, that if he had put the needle down and come to the bar, he surely wouldn't have regretted it. I think we would've liked each other a lot.
It's a burden sometimes, to think about that night and how nonchalant I was after, absolutely clueless to the fact a memorial service was being held for the guy who stood me up. And now, the little secret meetings we sometimes get are the ones in my head while I sleep, and some are so dark and terrible while others are beautiful and pure, like the dream I had after I finished writing the story. He collided into me like a wave and I remember touching his smooth shoulder blades while he pushed himself deeper, thanking me for this final exchange. Neither one of us was crying. And when I woke up I knew the story was officially finished and there was no need to go back and edit it any more.
Still, I miss him. A lot. My only hope at this point in time is that he'll pay me a visit tonight after I fall asleep, and maybe offer me a little apology. Knowing me I'd forgive him right away and just be glad he was there in the first place.