In the dream, I am driving down a dusty Southern California freeway with Lisa and one other person(Mom?). I pull up in front of a high school building and place a call on my phone. A woman answers. She tells me Soldier is gone now. I have arrived too late but she is willing to talk to me in person. I make a snide remark about how surprised I am she will talk to me since it is likely he hates me. She denies it, says she admires me because of what he has said. Lisa is wary and warns me to be careful. My life is wonderful now and worrying about soldier is something I should leave in the past. Biarraza(her last name though I’m not sure why she goes by it) arrives. She is a slender Latina, much to my relief, not overly sexy, and down to earth. We get along instantly. After a heartfelt conversation in which we fill in the blanks for each other, she pulls out her phone and places a call. She hands me the phone. It is Soldier. His voice puts me into a quieter mood. I tell him all I ever wanted to do was help. He says he knew but that I risked my own health which was unhealthy. I tell him I thought I could relate to the urge to kill myself. “You would have never willingly killed yourself.” I argue with him, pointing to the many episodes of early 2007. “You might have had the feeling but you never had the will. That’s not you. You love life.” We congratulate one another, wish each other well, and say goodbye. I hug B. Lisa and I head back onto the road.
I have it all. Brains, beauty, a Cal education, a house of my own, a decent relationship with my parents, a commitment to my own health, strong faith, and the greatest group of friends any human could desire. I’m dating again. I’m crushing on someone again. I’m partying and exercising again. My life is exactly how it should be, a year after it all started to come apart.
But I miss the one person who has truly broken my heart. I miss his friendship. I miss knowing he thought the world of me at one point in time. I miss his touch.
I don’t know how not to.
My Play Brother came to me in a dream two weeks ago. I had been angry because Soldier had been in my dream and it made me miss him again, despite my excitement over new prospects. So I wished for my Play Brother and he returned. He is watching over me.
It is that time of year again. When my world changed forever. When my mind began to come undone. So much loss to death and mental illness.
Yet so much foundation for change, growth, evolution.
On my favorite TV show,Degrassi, a favorite character battles cancer. I cannot cry. I have a date this evening and I don’t want to be sad like I was that night in my college town, when a date I had so eagerly anticipated went awry. So I look for Beatles lyrics and remember.
2300 miles away, the man who vanished drinks, laughs, breathes. Does he think of me?
And across the universe, an angel sends forth all the love this world deserves. All for me.
Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe it is because the Bears lost their second game in a row. Maybe it’s the beer I had Friday night or the margarita I had with Saturday dinner. Maybe it’s because my day got off to a horrible start or I didn’t do my longer run or because I didn’t get to enjoy my mom’s cooking for the umpteenth week or because it was very windy all day.
Or, despite the hours of therapy, reflection, and prayer, and my gradual acceptance of the harsh reality of his rejection, I still miss him.
“Sad hours seem long.”
I should be making my bed so I can do my training run. I signed up for the Vegas half-marathon this week, even booked my flight.
I have been sitting in my room, crying like it is July 3rd and not October 7th.
My heart is foolish.
aun no entiendo porque no te puedo olvidar. se que parezco un personaje de un triste bolero o de una ranchera, lleno de esperanzas, lagrimas, e ilusiones. hasta cuando tendre todos estos recuerdos? hasta cuando sentire tu silencio, tu desprecio?
cuanta quisiera estar cerca de ti.
Soldier came back. We were teamed up for an activity like a relay. At one point, I fell and he fell because we were tied together. Next thing you know, we were kissing. We got up, kept going, but found ourselves embracing again. I said I wasn’t sure what to make of it because of all the issues we’ve had. But I didn’t fight it.
At the end of the dream, I was happy, he was happy. Everyone was looking at us crazy.
It was a good dream, not a nightmare.
For the last several weeks, I have been in exile. Not voluntary, though as time has gone on, I have grown to value the aloneness and the silence. Ever since I got home from Nashville, I have not spoken to Soldier. It’s been strange, to make a huge understatement, because he was someone I used to talk daily during the awful winter(and that had nothing to do with cold weather or rain), someone I professed my love to in the spring, and, for all intents and purposes, despite the two thousand and three hundred plus miles between us, the man in my life for a few months.
After my mind crumbled into shards, I was left to put my life back together. In that time, my circle of friends has proven to be loyal and sincere, putting in hours of phone calls, text messages, and visits as I grappled with losing Soldier and facing my new diagnosis. I know now that my friends are true, that I am never alone, that I am loved and lovable. But losing Soldier, if only temporarily, has caused me great pain. There isn’t a day I do not think of him. There are very few days I do not cry.
He has not shut me out completely. He answers text messages now and then. He has agreed that I can write him letters. For the most part, I have felt like a ghost. I have felt like I stopped existing to him the minute we hung up the phone that July night, when the harvest moon sadly watched.
Friday night, I was high as a kite, still bubbling over with glee after watching Avenue Q,having braved my recent injuries to trudge Frankenstein style into a BART train and into the City, which still fills me with such joy. I was icing my battered limbs when my phone chimed. “Who in the hell would text message me at midnight? That’d be hella funny if it was Soldier.” So many times I had wished he would think of me in the early morning, like he used to do so many months ago. Then I checked the phone and read his message. My stomach dropped several stories. I cried bitterly for about five minutes. I wiped my tears, thanked Mama Mary and Jesus, and went to sleep.
Does my heart, hopeful and strong, know the truth?
es lo esperar.
Yo puedo con todo: la muerte, la tragedia, la enfermedad. Pero tener que esperar. Eso si que me cuesta trabajo.
Duermo. Como. Hasta sonrio y me siento cada dia mejor. Pero aun te estoy esperando.
On a Sunday afternoon, after we have had brunch, we cross a gravelly parking lot. You tease me as I stumble in my brown slingbacks. You wonder if I’ve forgotten how to walk in heels, though these are lower than what I usually wear. You reach for me suddenly, pull me towards you, kiss me passionately, as we stand beneath the canopy of endless blue sky. I am startled. “What was that for?”
“I just wanted to give that to you.”
“I thought you weren’t a PDA kind of guy.”
My heart twirling around and around like a little kid trying to make themselves dizzy. Your hand is warm and holds mine tightly. I want the moment to last forever. I relive it often.
On a Monday afternoon, after we have talked about how we feel and where we are going, we sit in a rental car in the parking lot of a military post store. You stroke my hair over and over, look into my eyes in a way no one ever has. I feel small, young. Our final kiss is ardent. My heart feels like it’s taken a leap off a high mountain peak. You touch my hair again, give me “one last hug.” I watch you walk away as tears fill my eyes.
Why didn’t that moment last forever?
And will I get to relive it?