So as it turns out, sometime between last October the second and this October the second, it totally slipped past me for the first time in six years. It was a Saturday again, but honestly I cannot remember much about last Saturday except my DSL went out on me and I watched Slumdog Millionaire. I was sober for the first time on that date, the first time in six years on that date, not the first time in six years, and just until about ten minutes ago, when the thought hit me, it had totally gotten past me.
The night is still vivid and one of the most vivid scenes is when where were going down the road and there were all those blank sheets of computer paper along the highway, and it was like a blizzard of nothingness that we were passing through, and I didn’t suspect it was a sign, but it was, it was a sign of everything we would become and would be to each other.
It’s odd that Slumdog didn’t trigger the memory, but it didn’t, and that in itself is telling. But the underlying lesson in that movie is love doesn’t mean much to some people if the level of security isn’t there to back it up, and I think that’s a sad lesson.
Physically, I came close to being killed twice that day, six years ago. Once by the cop, and once on the bridge, but spiritually, that was the day I died. Tying to get you through cancer a month later was who we once were on life support. I ached to tell you I still loved you, and every time we spoke I would say it after you hung up, but what I was waiting for was you to tell me why. I just wanted to know how we went from talking about the two of us sharing something holy and special and different to not speaking at all. Through chemo and cutting, and everything you went through, all I wanted was to be the person you needed me to be. All I wanted was to make some difference somehow in your life, and to mean something again to you. I never doubted you would beat it. It never occurred to me you wouldn’t survive. But then after the surgery you didn’t call me, you didn’t let me know you had lived, you didn’t let me know what had happened, you totally cut the cancer out, and you cut me out too, and I had to call the hospital to find out you had lived, and you had been released. I had sent flowers to an empty room.
At some point in your recovery I thought you would tell me I mattered, or that we mattered, or there was a reason I didn’t matter, but then I realized that wasn’t why I was there. I was there to help you through it, and when you were through it, when it was clear it was over, I was supposed to go away again. You stopped calling me from your house and started calling me in between once place or another, or one time for something in between another. Your emails were more positive about the future but shorter, too.
It was weird facing down the cop with his gun. It was weird throwing that ring off the bridge, as if the quest was over, the ring destroyed, and the world changed forever. I knew when you sent me the cancer email, on Friday, November the fifth, that nothing had changed, even though I hoped like hell I was wrong. You never owned up to what you did to me, and how you did it to me, and you never explained what it was, or who I was, that made you do it, and like a dog left at the pound for strangers to stare at and pass by, I will always wonder what I did to make you stop loving me.
Six years, five days, a few hours, and a whole lot of change has passed up both by. Yes, I do know about your marriage, and your baby, but that is just about it. Surface to surface, nothing in depth, nothing that would let me know anymore than I could read in the local newspapers were I in town. I have been, you know, twice, but what would I say, or do, and what would you say, or do, and how would you explain that weird guy, yeah, that one from your sister’s wedding?
After all the plans we had for that weekend, after all we talked about doing, and saying, and feeling, I can honestly say, those were the worst days of my life up until you emailed me you had cancer. You won’t remember it, it doesn’t mean anything to you anymore, and it never will, but once long ago, when we were still dreaming, I told you if you ever found someone that you loved, and who loved you, and you could be happy, there would be no one alive more happy for you than I would be.
I still mean every word of it, even today.
No matter what else you may believe, or think you believe, or rationalize away, the truth is there has never been anyone in your life who has known you like I have. I knew you when you were practically a virgin. I knew you when you were a stripper. I knew you when you first got pregnant, and the hell you went through as a single mom trying to go back to school. I knew you when you started it, and ended it with Art, and I know why. I knew you before you beat cancer, and you know, you really know, no one in your life tried harder to help you through it than I did.
The one thing I have never known, and never will know, is why, why you pushed me away, and why you could never tell me why.