It's been 2 and a half years since she was taken, and 2 years since she left.When I think about putting hard, factual numbers on it… I find myself feeling stagnant. Heavy.
It doesn’t seem like a few years…
It feels like an eternity, and this time of year is internally difficult. In May of 2009, I didn’t think my life could plunge any deeper into the shadows… then November rolled around and showed me just how wrong I was.
I remember the phone call. I was driving home to spend a beautiful holiday on the east side with my family. I missed a ton of phone calls on the drive, avoiding talking whilst driving. I pulled into the driveway and before I even threw my car into park, my phone rang… again. I can remember thinking “What does she want so badly!?” I answered in a good mood, happy to have arrived at my destination:
“Hey, what’s up?!”
The response I got was a quick calm, carrying frantic undertones:
“…Are you still driving?”
“Nope! Just pulled into the driveway – I didn’t want to talk and drive; sorry I missed your calls”
The news came abruptly after my apology. I remember my mouth was heavy, words unable to be formed, once again my brain and body refused to believe what my head was hearing.
“Hello?” she asked.
The only thing I could manage was “I have to call you back.”
I remember the first phone call I made. It wasn’t a thought my brain processed. It was instinctual. Immediately I knew who I wanted, and needed to talk to. I was nervous she wouldn’t answer, but also nervous that she would… in fear that this nightmare would be established as my newfound reality.
She answered. I remember crying on the phone. Hard. I couldn’t even tell you how long I sat in my car that night with tears streaming down my face, soaking my t shirt. Looking back, I don't think I was crying for just one reason or another. I was crying for everything. I cried for her, and for her, and for everyone I knew and didn’t know. I cried for her family, for my sister, for myself, and for my family. Those past 6 months rushed over me and ripped out every ounce of strength I had left. I remember closing my eyes with my face pressed profoundly into the steering wheel. My body felt feeble and weak, my head and mind throbbed deliberately, and my heart ached.
You see, if you’ve ever experienced losing someone that means something to you, you know that feeling. Realizing your worst fear has come true, yet, something inside you, in the back of your mind, refuses to believe it. Death takes a while to set in and make itself comfortable. You deny, deny, deny, until you can’t anymore. That night in the car, I hurled past the denial stage. After May of 2009, my mind wouldn’t allow me to follow precepts and reject what was now the final catapult into a complete shutdown.
My friend, the first and only phone call I made that night, refers to it now as a blackout. I agree with her. The months that ensued, I remember in vague, distorted blobs. I remember songs I listened to, a cd that was made for me - that seemingly defines my life at the end of 2010. I remember my apartment, because I rarely left it. I remember being angry. Really angry. However, if you had asked me then – I meaningfully would have told you that I wasn’t. I remember fights and rage. Spending nights alone, sitting at my desk, listening to music that poured my heart into words I couldn’t come up with on my own. I remember abusing myself, placing my life on hold, and pathetically trying to prepare myself for a tainted, long future that was nothing like the one I had previously envisioned.
I like to think I put on a good show for everyone, though. My dad knew I was carrying anger around like a briefcase, long before I did. I faked smiles, and force fed everyone the rehearsed lines they were begging to hear. I thanked them for their kind words, all the while cussing them out in my head “Shut the fuck up. Don’t tell me you’re sorry. You don’t know. Don’t tell me you miss her. You don’t know what missing her even means. I miss her. I don’t need your bullshit and sympathy. I’m fine. Leave me alone.”
Truth was, I knew they were only doing what they could. What could they do? Nothing. No one can do anything. You have to wait, keep pressing forward, and hope that you can return to some form of normalcy. What they were all trying to do, was be there for me. I didn’t want anyone to be there, though. The people I wanted to be there for me were gone. I wanted my best friends back. I wanted my life back. The “normal” life I had before May of 2009.
I can’t remember exactly when the fog began to recede and I started emerging from the haze. A summer spent at home was vital to my recovery, my family remains my rock. I have come leaps and bounds from that time in my life, but not a single day goes by I don’t feel the inherent emptiness that sits in the pit of my stomach. I yearn to hear their voices, for just one day to spend with either one of them. One day I will share more about my friendship with her, and the relationship I shared with my other, beautifully better half. For now, all I can share are these events of November, the way I remember them.