In these days of reflective heartache, I am wistful for the simpler days, before my world became so complicated. There was a time of splendid isolation that kept me safe. I was always a solitary soul, very adept at being alone. Keeping company with very few, but they were my constant, and they were all I needed. Fears of the world we live in and life in general kept me on the fringes, where I was somewhat comfortable.
I wasn’t unhappy, not lonely, just woefully awkward. Bound in routine, everything in its place, and a place for everything, I carved out a gentle existance. Keeping a safe distance allowed for twilight strolls, random evening drives with music as my copilot, long nights of writing and happy suppers with the few I dared to care about.
The dearest of them all was Ian, my best friend. We were a riot of a whirlwind, not a moment was mundane or insignificant, we made it all count. We radiated and glowed, a glorious bundle of laughter and love. Together we grew up and grew into ourselves, with him, I found what it was to truly be friends, to trust, and to love, and to be loved. No amount of tears or fears could have ever kept my heart from growing so large with love and admiration.
For a good many years, my every day life included him and our endless shenanigans. Both dreamers, we believed in each other in ways most never dare. In him, I found strength, love does that you know. And together we made the world shimmer with anticipation. I suppose when you are young, you look about during a moment of delicious perfection, and believe with all your heart that this is how your life is always going to be. For so long, we felt that to be a simple fact.
We had 17 years of loving one another ferociously, time and distance held nothing on our hearts. East and West coast, we cared not, for we knew that we always had one another. Failed relationships, careers and artistic endevours, they meant nary a thing, for we were always each others biggest fans, he made me feel as if no matter what, that I had always grabbed the brass ring. 17 years sounds like a large number, but it isn’t, for me, now, it is far too small, for I was so certain that we had an eternity, and then some.
I got the news on a Monday morning, and I always say, good news always sleeps until noon, I know this to be true. Ian had gone from sleep to take the dirt nap in the bone orchard, and as I screamed and cried and vomited, I was certain that before the longest day were to come to an end, that I too would die, from a broken heart. The news spread across the continent, and I felt many other hearts lurch in grief. I was surprised the world didn’t drown for all the tears that were shed. And I hated the world around me for going on as if nothing had happened. I wanted to scream to strangers smiling, throttle the birds for singing and shoot the sun from the sky for being so viscious and cruel to be shining. I wanted to smash things, beat my fists till they were bloody and make something, anything, hurt worse than I. My grief was so large and selfish, but to me,at the time, it was a testimony of this deep undying love, and the enormous hole in my shattered soul.The tight grip that took hold of me held me low to the ground, unable to truly breath, waking from my scant slumbers awash in tears and sweat, finding claw marks upon my shoulders, where my hands dug in tightly in the attempt to hold myself together. Each day was a new flavor of suck, and they dragged on, taunting me. I hate how hard it was for me to see past my own sorrow and properly console the countless others who ached just as terribly.
We all scrambled to find all the many who knew and loved him, to share the terrible news, to wrap our arms around one another as our legs buckled, and to hold dear to the spirit of this fine man. It was here that I came to see how his love had formed me, how he gave me a glorious map of friendship to take forward. To be aware of the very many friends who worried so dearly for me, wanting to some how quell this endless agony, I was humbled. I had some how become something other than the frightened mouse that kept all at a continents length. Through Ian, I shed that old lizard skin, and become rather human. He often marveled at this, chuckling with delight to know I now had a full dance card, and to know he still yet had the top slot. I never saw it happening, how one persons love for me could spill over and out of my soul till I found myself awash in a vast sea of fully formed friendships. He always gave the most grand gifts.
Two days ago, I placed a daisy next to his ashes, for daisies were his way of saying I love you to me. And that daisy was entombed with him, for you see, try as I had, I was not able to keep him here with me, safe, as I so arrogantly assumed, but I was with him, forever.
I feel him with me, in every moment, in song and sunrise, in quiet and moon glow. The gentle grace of his love will carry me through, till the sound of his whisper in my ear, “sweetheart” is no longer a figment of my imagination, but that which shall bring me from here to there, where he surely awaits, so that we may one day be together, to play cards with Audrey Hepburn in heaven.