I was standing in my office this weekend, practicing guitar, playing to a collage frame of A’s pictures, as I sometimes do, because I need a stand-in audience as I rehearse. And because I want him to hear me. I want to play for him, because he is the reason I play at all, and I wish he could hear me now, when I’ve gotten so much better than I was when he was last here to hear me. It’s not really fair that he only heard me when I was sucked. He deserves better.
I don’t remember the song I was playing, but it wasn’t one I wrote for him, or played because it was a song he liked, though I think there was obviously some emotional content to it, because suddenly, I had tears in my eyes.
And then yesterday, he was heavy on my mind, as I looked hard at those pictures again, really seeing him, remembering where we were when I took those photos, seeing his personality come through in every one, and, well...there was a lot of sighing. I had no sooner thought to myself, “Why is this all coming up now?” (because it’s been a long while since I’ve felt this stuff hovering so close to the surface) when that thought was followed up with, “Oh right...it’s June.”
Tonight I had to look up a song to send to my guitar teacher for my lesson tomorrow, and I found it on a mix CD I’d made him as a gift on our first in-person visit. The song I wanted was near the end, so I listened to the rest of the mix while I puttered on the computer, and my heart grew fuller and heavier with every song. So of course, because I’m a masochist, I looked up the email he sent me after I went home from that first trip, with the playlist of that CD because I’d forgotten to keep a copy for myself. Only he’d added some text to a bunch of the titles, little romantic things that would’ve made me fall in love with him right then, if I hadn’t already been so far gone down that particular road. And I read the emails and poems we exchanged that day, about how we missed each other, about how great a trip it’d been, about how we were looking forward to many more. And of course, I was completely farklempt, especially when I read the “many more visits” part. God damn it, we were cheated. I will never get over that.
Oh yes. It’s June. And this is why I don’t read those old emails as much as I imagined I would back when I first lost him. Because I’m right down the rabbit hole when I do, overwhelmed simultaneously with the full force of the love I felt for him then, and still feel, and the horror and ache of losing him, of being without him all this time.
It’s been 10 years since we met. Come July, it’ll be 8 years he’s been gone. Last year, I didn’t feel the June ramp-up so much, so I wasn’t expecting it at all this year.
On the one hand, it hurts. There’s no two ways about it. On the other hand, so many times I curiously examine my emotional state when I think of him, or see his picture every day, because it isn’t emotionally fraught, and I wonder how that can be. Other times, I worry that he’s slipped away from me; that if I didn’t have the pictures I’d have nothing at all left. So at this point in the game, I’m thinking it’s okay that it comes back full force sometimes--even if it hurts. I find it reassuring, because it means I haven’t forgotten. He hasn’t slipped away from me. He wasn’t a dream; he was real, and we loved each other truly. He was really here, and he loved me, and he was wonderful, and fuck, I miss him. For all the homage I’ve paid, and the memories I’ve captured, and the nods to him I’ve made in the things I do since he died; for all the healing I’ve done, and the contentment I’ve managed to regain, and the forward progress that is to me, in my deepest heart, nothing less than miraculous, I miss him so. I’ll never not miss him; he was a singular soul, and my life will always be better for having had him in it, and it will always be diminished because he’s no longer here. And that, my friends, is a heartbreak that will last as long as my heart still beats.