The call was to inform me he had killed himself. My first love. My only love. The man I walked away from when my son was about a year and a half because he couldn't get his mental health issues in check; and I would be dammed to expose my son to someone more unstable than me.
We had kept in touch thanks to the power of the internet though not as often as I now wish. A few occasional emails checking in with each other (however looking back at the emails I never truly said all I had wanted to).
There was that one phone call I received from him around this time of year three years back; he was panicked, and unstable. I begged him to go get help, and even though he promised me he would, I know he didn't. What he wanted was for someone to answer, and I did.
I had forgotten to tell him my number had changed a year back. I know it's trivial and pointless to think giving him my new number could have changed his mind...I get that, really, I do.... but god dammit I wish I had remembered to tell him.
Instead I was too wrapped up in me to think of him, and the fucking irony of it all makes my heart weep. My anger rages through tears that burn my eyes when I think of him. It's been a little over two months since his life ended, and I still see threads of him in my life constantly. I've come a long way in those months; with writing as my sole outlet, I couldn't bring myself to sit down and make this entire situation "real" by putting it into words...but it's time.
Maybe I'm making a bigger deal out of his death than I should; he always told me he didn't want to live to be old. His life outlook was so negative, it was mostly the polar opposite of mine. I think that's why we were soul mates who happened to become poison when together. Another irony (which, yes I'm probably using the term "irony" wrong, but he's not here to tell me otherwise).
His death allowed me to see he was actually able to live the years since we physically parted; his friends had kept a close watch on him. I know he wanted more, but didn't feel he deserved it. Dammit, I miss him. I'm beginning to wonder if he's stuck here on earth. I'm hardly a religious (or even spiritual) person. Since his death my life was consumed with snakes (he knows I HATE snakes), mice (another thing he knows I hate), and two men I was interested in tell me they were gay. I guess the joke is on me.
I cherish the days we spent together. I'm not one to paint rainbows and butterflies on my past with him; because I'll be the first to tell you we were the couple that argued A. LOT. Reflecting on this relationship made me realize our love was more than the two of us could handle; and not in a sappy, romantic way...but more in a "it was way too heavy, and mature for our immature brains to be able to digest, comprehend and appreciate" kind of way.
He was my Caring Panda, and I was his Sugar Marmot; cheesy pet names, yes, but that's who we were when we were together (and things were good) - cheesy. We were both goof balls and I know at our core we cherished the authentic goofy sides of each other.
Walking away from him when I did, the only way I coped was for my life to evolve into a chaotic bajillion miles per hour. Working 40 hours a week (that truthfully totaled 50 hours per week when taking into account lunch hours and commutes), raising a little boy as best as a single girl could, going back to school, the house, the dog, gardening....all of these things had distracted me from how much I actually missed him and us. I know there have been moments during the years since we parted where I thought about him, and yearned to reconnect; but knowing he hadn't addressed his mental health issues was all I needed to know to stop myself.
Every day I walk to work I pass the building where we met. I pass the dorm where we spent many nights together, and the hotel he spontaneously rented a room from to surprise me with flowers and a burnt cd filled with slow songs so we could hold each other dancing close.
Have you ever had a person in your life with whom you've decided (both you and the person, collectively) you'll be each other's back-up plan? You know, when, if you both aren't married by a certain age, you'll marry each other...? We were each other's back-up plans; and aside from living, and seeking professional help, that was the only other thing he never followed through with.
He was my love, and dammit, I miss him.