I wrote this earlier in the summer (by hand and typed it up to remember), but it didn't feel honest until I put it out into the world. So this is me, shouting to the world and writing to an old friend. Hope you enjoyed Adam's post yesterday and I'll talk to you tomorrow.
When we were twelve, nothing seemed overly important. We learned about the moon and Egypt and took turns pushing the cart around to pick up trays at lunch. When we were twelve, we fought about music because I liked rock and you liked rap. When we were twelve, we always chose opposite kickball teams so that we could each be captains and dominate the field. You usually won and I was a graceful loser…insisting that I would most definitely win the next game. When we were twelve, you thought I was silly for going to the midnight premiere of the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. You told me it was for nerds and I told you that Zoolander was still not funny. When we were twelve, you hid from the camera that I over-enthusiastically flashed at anyone who walked passed. When we were twelve, we'd spend all afternoon on your trampoline and I would steal your blue hat. When we were twelve, you told me that no matter what middle school you went to, you'd always be around. When we were twelve, we finished primary school and you went to visit family and you got in that car and you left. Not just this state, but this world. You left me, when we were twelve.
I waited. They told me it was your brother at first and I worried for you. I wanted to talk to you, but you wouldn't answer your phone. The phone you had gotten three months before me. Our first cell phones. Your last cell phone. I called and I text messaged and you never got back. Because it wasn't your brother, it was you. There was no more kickball and no more trampoline. The pictures never held your face because you refused to show it and the trays were left to me and the others to collect. And, most importantly, you were not around.
When we were twelve, we didn't fear what we had no concept of. I did not worry because you promised. When I was twelve, I did not understand anger or fear, until you weren't there to talk about them with me. The confusion set in, then. The confusion and fear and sadness that I did not shake for many years. The day they told me, I didn't believe them. Broke down and fought it with every fibre of my being because you could not be gone. Every day that you didn't call was another reminder that you were never going to. Did I mention that your name is still stored in my phone? Three phones later and I still can't part with the familiarity of your name in there. I would write you letters and sneak out in the middle of the night to set them, not beside your grave, but under the fence hear the grave that we would climb over to get to the short-cut. Funny how close the two were, really. I think you would have liked that, if you weren't only twelve. If you had done more, seen more, been more, you would have appreciated the irony of the location a bit more. I thought the letters would help. I convinced myself that they did help. Every letter to you was one step closer to letting you go and, in turn, letting me go. Letting me grow.
You've missed a lot. My letters stopped in 2008 when it happened. You know what "it" was, no doubt. One of the few, even. Still haven't opened up about that to many people. I promised I would, but hey, you promised a few things, too. I still think about you and how you'd react to seeing me now. You'd still call me a nerd and you'd be more right than ever, but you'd look at what I'm doing and remind me that this has always been it. This was always the dream for the both of us: enjoying here while it lasted and getting out.
I just wanted you to know that it's been seven years to the day that they told me and, you know what? I'm happy. It has come and gone in stages, and nothing ever goes just right, but none of that matters. Seven has always been and will always be my lucky number. It took my seven years to finally admit that I don't need to hold on anymore. You hurt me more than anyone has since and because of you, I did plenty of my own hurting, as well. But not anymore. To quote Martha Jones, a character from a show called Doctor Who that I know you would never watch, "this is me…getting out." Thank you, for everything, and I hope you're proud, I really do. I always did have an affinity for impressing you. Everything you have taught me will be with me through the rest of my life and no longer will those lessons be a reminder that you're gone, but a reminder that you were here and that, as a result of them, you always will be. Thank you for being there until we were twelve. xx K.
Days til London: 15.