I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks. The words just didn’t want to come. Maybe it was too soon. Maybe I needed to feel it all first. Or maybe I needed to say goodbye before I could say goodbye.
Whatever the case, I’m trying again. We laid you to rest a week ago, so I think this will be the last attempt. It’s time.
We met as kids, acknowledged each other’s existence with shared nods as teens and fell in love as adults. We then grew up, got stupid, fell out of love, hated each other and eventually defaulted back to nods of acknowledgment. We both knew it would never again expand past that point, but in honor of what we once had, we agreed to let things be the way they were.
But, the heart is a strange muscle. It has a memory. Just as it remembers how to beat, and knows which part has to relax and contract to make blood flow, it also remembers other things. It doesn’t just remember, it feels.
That is the only explanation I have. It’s the only reason why, since the day I found out your heart gave out and you were gone, mine has been in a million pieces.
It doesn’t make sense. We spent most of the last decade throwing shots and jabs at each other. Snarking on Facebook. Relaying less than kind comments through friends (sorry guys!). And that’s when we weren’t just trying to forget the other actually existed. We weren’t at each other’s throats, but we were far from the best friends we once were. That seems like a lifetime ago.
Seemed like it, until it ended. Your passing brought the end that we never managed to achieve. Your heart said enough and was no more. It was tired of remembering. It was tired of how it felt. It beats no more.
Mine however, still beats, and with every beat, it mourns. Because it not only remembers, it feels.
It remembers how it felt the day we realized that our meetups for coffee were about more than coffee and idle chit-chat.
It remembers how it felt the day we went to see Independence Day.
It remembers the day you proposed.
It remembers the day we got married, our honeymoon and the crazy days that followed because I lost my job and you got yours.
It remembers our first Christmas. Our first birthdays as husband and wife. Man were you sweating that. I remember you said you’d rather shop for my Christmas gift five times instead of finding the right gifts for my birthday (which is also Valentine’s Day). It remembers our first anniversary. And the fifth and the ninth.
Our ninth anniversary. A seven-course gourmet dinner at a five-star restaurant and a trip to the comedy club to see Dave Chappelle. It was the best anniversary ever. It was also the last one we celebrated.
My brain knows why. It remembers the fights, the silence, the nasty notes we exchanged with each other. And for a while, the brain had the heart in its camp. But once you were gone, my brain said, “Well, that’s over” and moved on. My brain is okay. We hadn’t been together for over a decade. We were never going to be together again. We were friends and we had to work our way back to that. So, my brain said goodbye and moved on.
But my heart…
It didn’t get the same memo. The only thing my heart knows is that a person I loved and at one point was my best friend and partner in crime was gone. My brain knew it was over long ago, but apparently my heart did not. So it’s broken. And I’m sad. You’re gone. We’re over. All that’s left is what my brain has stored of us.
I hope one day those memories will fill the void. But for now, my heart remembers. And it aches.
I’ll always remember you, Lou. I will always remember our good times. All those hours sitting at the kitchen table listening to music. Playing trivial pursuit. You teaching me how to play Axis and Allies. Listening to you play guitar. Shooting pool.
Pink Floyd and Babylon 5 will never sound or look the same.
I hope you have finally found the peace that alluded you. Please know that even though things did not end the way either or us planned, I regret nothing.