Dead friends.

I never liked it when you smoked. It wasn’t your worst vice by far; not even close. Somehow, though, it was worse than when you cut yourself and needed me to stitch you up–when you came back from war and woke from nightmares, silent because you knew you couldn’t scream–when your doctor threatened to lock you up if you didn’t talk to someone besides me about what was happening. I’m not sure why, after it all, that your smoking still bothered me.

It bothers me more that you’re dead.

You know, it would’ve been easier if you had killed yourself. You had drilled me for it, trained me to expect it, told our friends how to tell me when it happened, or if you’d died in war. You had notes written, emails to be sent, notifications that would let me know it had finally happened. But this? You died because of brain surgery?

I didn’t expect that one.

I wasn’t there. I couldn’t say goodbye. I couldn’t even fly out for the damned funeral. Instead I fell on my knees on the floor next to a puddle of dog vomit and cried so hard that I couldn’t breathe. You’d seen me cry like that so many times, but it had never been because of you before.

I dream that you aren’t dead, that I have to rescue you. That you faked your own death to stay safe, that I have to find you. And I can’t. I can’t rescue you, and if I find you, I wake up to the reality that you’re fucking dead, and I loved you, and I can’t do anything about either one of those facts.

I’m married now, you know. I’m married, and I’m in therapy, and I haven’t cut myself in almost five years. You’d be so proud of me. But there are so many problems, so many things that only you would understand. Only you would know how to deal with me at my lowest. There’s no one, NO ONE else in my life that has seen me cut. No one that understands why I did it, or what it meant to me, and why I still long for it now. There’s no one left that wouldn’t be disappointed if I did it again. No one left to talk to about how I feel, because everyone else in my life can’t understand.

You were my best friend, and you died, and you died on terms that weren’t your own. You were so content to have this surgery. Thought it would help. Knew it would help stop the headaches, the cerebrospinal fluid that leaked out of your eyes. Surgery after surgery until you didn’t wake up.

I don’t remember what the last thing I said to you was.

The last time you hugged me was in a graveyard.

I don’t know how to be, when you’re dead.

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