You were 12. Barely a teenager, still young and wide eyed, eager to grow up, to be apart of the world. You were loud, in a take control of the group sort of way. You grew up in a house full of chaos, of too many children in too few rooms, of anxiety and alcoholism, of a physically absent father and a mentally absent mother. The oldest of 8 you were never focused on, but always relied on, to look after the others, to set an example, to be everything your parents couldn’t be. Constantly lost in the shuffle, you struggled to find an identity in your house, but outside, amongst friends everyone knew when you were around. Like the lost boys of peter pan, you spent time with the other unnoticeables, those who crave adventure and excitement as a way to feel anything at all. You related to their silent pain and embraced their ways of healing it. You told me stories of smoking weed and drinking, while others were at their 6th grade functions. You played me the songs you used to relate to, as music had been a passion, ingrained in you for as long as you could remember. I’d soon see the sparkle in your father’s eyes as he spoke of your talent, your only hook to catch him while he was home.
You were 18 when you began to use hard drugs. To further numb the pain, as growing up only further opened your eyes to the mess that was your life. Charismatic and handsome, you appeared to be the epitome of confidence, of the high school guy every other guy wanted to be, tried to be. Of the guy every girl craved, desired and chased. Ironically, it was sobriety that clouded your vision, leaving you unable to see what everyone else saw, take that first hit or snort however, and it all came together.
You were 21 when you met me. I was 19, a simple, shy, quiet girl who knew nothing of the dark world you lived in. Who saw the beauty in everything and everyone, who admired you from afar, surprised to see a guy like you working in a bookstore, so sure that someone like you would never talk to someone like me. You said you saw that, a good in me you hadn’t seen in girls my age. We went on our first date, I still laugh at the thought of you, the bad boy musician, picking me up in the mom mobile mini van. We got coffee and sat in the car for hours, talking and laughing, opening up to each other as if it was much further along than the first date.
And so it began.
You told me about the pills from the beginning, how they controlled your life. You hated how much you needed them but loved the way they made you feel. You held my hands and with a pained, desperate look, told me you never had a reason to stop, until you met me. I deserved better, you said, but you knew you couldn’t stop on your own, in your house, with your friends, the cause of your initial downfall. So as quickly as you came, you left, our first months together were spent apart. And as your addiction began to weaken, mine began to grow. When you came home, we became inseparable. I craved you, needed you around at all times, a reciprocation of your feelings towards me. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was feeling an intense first love, while you were fulfilling your addictive tendencies. As it often happens, what started out as fun and innocent, quickly turned toxic. Everything we did, said, felt, was intensified. When we fought objects were thrown, holes were punched, no communication, just a continuous battle of screaming over one another. When we loved, we kissed, hugged, unable to contain our smiles and laughter, unable to imagine our lives with anyone else.
Or so I thought.
You were 23 when I began to lose you. They say you never get over your first love and though you loved me, it was nothing in comparison to your love for it. Of all the others you’ve experienced, itwas the one, your oldest friend, easily accessible, always there for you, ready to lift you from your lowest lows and bring you to your greatest highs. Almost immediately I could sense its presence, it was as if a new life was breathed into you, a happiness unfelt for so long. I was tossed to the side, a used toy gone unnoticed, upgraded for another. How quick you were to defend yourself, thereby defending it. You told me I was crazy, that you deserved better. How full circle we had come. The return of it, marked the beginning of the end, you began to relive your experiences with the others- Percs, Oxies but also began to flirt with an untamed beast, heroine.
I was 22 when I let go, as much as I think I’ll ever be able to, of you. You were 25 when you began to get your life back on track. You begged for me back, apologizing for ever hurting me, astounded at my disbelief. I know you believe you were telling the truth, just as I know how it would inevitably return, because I now know it never leaves, no matter how bad we or I would have wanted it to. Your continuous attempts to still reach out to me, have done nothing but let me know that every night, when you get into bed, the moments that made your day, are abruptly replaced by the absence of my warmth against your body and my breath against your skin. I know that as you toss and turn for comfort you’re reminded of the way my head laid perfectly on your chest. But above all, I hope you know, that with every second, minute and hour that you lay awake thinking of these simplistic perfections that unknowingly made your life complete, I am resting peacefully.