There are some things I write about every year. The weather is one of those things. How I hate the cold, and then, when temperatures climb into the 90s, how I hate the heat. Holidays don’t usually pass without a blog post. Birthdays too, usually get mentioned here.
And then, there’s David. I write about him every April 6th. Because I have to. Because if I didn’t, I don’t think I could live with myself. I don’t think I could look at myself in the mirror if I let one single anniversary pass without some attempt at honoring his memory or without letting myself feel the impact of him. Yes, I’ve written about him before, but it’s different every year. The pain moves, settles, and shifts.
David jumped up off an overpass 10 years ago today and fell to his death. He was 16. His birthday was March 11th, just one day before mine, and he hadn’t even had his driver’s license for a month. He taught himself handstands after his mother told him to go stand on his head. He had a beautiful laugh that made everyone smile. We sat next to each other in 10th grade English. He wanted to join the Navy.
He drove me home from school that day. We shared a cigarette. I probably could have shared more. He asked if I wanted a ride the next morning. I said no. Less than 20 minutes later, that was it. He was gone.
The headlines talked about traffic. Not about the loss of life. They talked about how some local “man” had jumped and caused traffic to come to a standstill. I scooped them all up, though. I wanted the stories, the remnants, all the bits and pieces of him that I could find.
I cried. Broke down. Hurt myself. Slept. Drank. Smoked. Started over the next day. Over and over and over.
I go back now, ten years later, knowing how it all turns out, and read what I wrote then. It wasn’t much, at first. I didn’t know where to begin, I guess. Most aren’t equipped to discuss suicide at 16, and I was no exception. But then, the flood. It all came out. Pages and pages about what happened, how much it hurt, how angry I was that he didn’t take me with him.
May 3, 2000 – You and me could run away. There’s better things on the other side. I feel alone. Am I the only one? Am the only one who’s crazy like this? Or are there other people just as crazy as you are? Tell me…I dunno. I really don’t.
I’m not much for faith. I’m too sensitive for it, I guess. I see and feel how the world hurts and I just can’t rationalize diety when so many are dying and hurting and starving. But I know that David’s there. Always has been there. Watching out for me. Cheering me on. Inspiring me to keep going, to try harder. It’s not like a ghost. It’s more than that. It’s unwavering. It’s there whenever I reach for it. It’s there the moment my eyes fill up with tears and I start to remember his smile, or his laughter or his six-pack abs. Always. He’s unwavering.
There’s so much, each year, that I try to say. Each year, I don’t quite make it. I can’t quite get into it enough to say it all, to make it right, to do him justice. There’s just so much to say, and there’s so much I’ve already said and what I really should say to him, is this:
Thank you. I’m sorry. I love you. I miss you.