Stage Five

It’s 2:30 in the morning and all I can think about is a basket sitting in the bathroom.  It’s a silly little basket filled with sample sized bottles of shampoo and deodorant and mouthwash.  I think there’s floss in there, a razor, a bottle of hand cream whose name is inadvertently dirty.  I stuck it in there because I knew you’d find it funny.

I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and started obsessing.  That’s what I do.  I’m obsessive and I’m compulsive and it’s a disorder, of sorts.  So I came down stairs and scrolled back through three years of Tweets, favouriting every conversation we’d had since November 11, 2010.  There were more, much more, but Twitter would only go back that far before it stopped.  I kept favouriting, but then I realized I had favourited so many that they were overwriting each other, so I only have 70.  That’s less than a month’s worth.  That’s not enough.

That’s all I have left.  I don’t save emails or chat threads.  I have one rogue message from you on my phone that I didn’t delete for some reason when you sent it to me nearly a year ago: Answer your emails, bitch.  My reply?  I just did, whore.  That’s what we did.  You were allowed to call me bitch, because I’d just turn around and call you whore and we did it with endearment because that’s who we are.  Were.

I found one picture of us on Instagram, taken in the tattoo shop where you got your inukshuk tattoo.  I look so uncomfortable because you’re hugging me.  I’m not a hugger and you know it, and that’s exactly why you did it, so the picture is kind of perfect.  I should be more of a hugger. I hugged you exactly 8 times.  That’s not enough.

I have the Tweets I can read, and the picture I can look at, and I have some things you sent me over the years, but that’s not enough.  At work, I have a pin from you that says “I’ll get you, my pretty” and the wallpaper on my computer is a picture you took, but that’s not enough.  At home, I have the basket in the bathroom and more of your photos and a metallic camera I just bought to sit on the mantle and remind me of you, but that’s not enough.

Nothing will be enough because they’re all just things.  Those things are tied to memories and those memories are what’s left of you.

You got a new job.  A really fantastic job you were excited about and proud of, but it took a lot of your time and had you working odd hours, so we talked less than before.  But that was ok.  It didn’t change what we were, it just changed our pace.  We were supposed to go on vacation, both our families, to the one place on earth I never thought you’d go.  The houses were rented, the plans, in my mind, were made, and I was completely bursting with excitement.  I’d been waiting for years for our kids to meet.  But that didn’t work out, and that was ok.  You were busy, I understood.  I understood, which was why I let you be busy.  A few times a month I’d ask you how it was going, what you were up to, how everyone was.  You’d sometimes reply and that would be that.  I thought I understood.

I didn’t understand, though.  I didn’t and I can’t and I won’t.  All of this, it wasn’t enough.  You should have come for another visit.  You should have joined us on vacation.  You should have replied more often.  I should have tried more often.

But now it’s too late.  You’re gone and you’re not coming back and, pardon my French, but that’s bullshit.  You’re a month and a half younger than me and that shit’s not supposed to happen.  You have kids, young kids, and that shit’s not supposed to happen.  You’re my friend, one of my all-time greatest, brother-from-another-mother, he-clone type friends, and that shit’s not supposed to happen.  You are everyone’s best friend and I think we can all agree when I say that shit is not supposed to happen.

It’s 3 am now.  I still can’t sleep.  Still thinking about that damn basket…

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12 thoughts on “Stage Five

  1. I think you get it when I say that it’s about time.

    People sometimes tend to forget the impact these situations can have on simply friends.

    I know you and that you’re hurting. Just keep walking through it.

    Check in always, my friend.

  2. This was sad, and beautiful, and wonderful that you were able to articulate your feelings, and lonely in a way. But I’m really glad you wrote it. I know we’ve never met in person, but I would miss you terribly if you were gone.

  3. Beautiful. He sounds like the friend we all so want to have. So sorry you are feeling that empty inside. Thank you for sharing and please, keep writing.

      • I accidentally happened to keep a voice message from my brother wishing me a happy birthday three years ago. Ten days before he was killed in a car wreck. Hold on to that message. And it’s okay to listen to it whenever you want. One day it will make you smile like an idiot and no one will know why.

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