My mom took me to Wendy's after picking me up. I only stopped smiling long enough to order and I forgot to smile when I was done ordering and rested my fingertips on my right cheek. I freaking beamed then. I begged her to take me to Dollar General to get a book. I had to listen to her sigh and complain but I kept asking. My persistent stride is my greatest tribute to the world and it's also my greatest downfall.
She doesn't sigh and complain anymore. She's quite soft spoken and more caring. Maybe it's from having MS or maybe it's from having her heart truly broken that changed her. I hope mine hasn't broken too late like hers, inevitably causing me to settle.
She now reminds me of my late grandfather. He was a horrible father and husband but he was never horrible to my brother, my cousins, and myself. My favorite would be when we'd come over and he would great us with a toothless smile (with the exception of two or three teeth) and pat my brother and me on the back and say "Hey buddy" in his weak voice. He'd stand at the window and jiggle his hands in his pockets, which were filled with hard candy and change and keys. When he died I stood outside of the hospital in subzero degree weather smoking a cigarette and the inside of my nostrils were frozen from the snot created by balling my eyes out.
I stood in the parking lot and watched the snow fall. I felt completely alone. But now I think- I hope- I wasn't alone. Maybe you were there with me. Somewhere so far deep inside I couldn't find it but you were still there.
I caressed my right cheek for months after that. When I told him I liked hearing that every night I did that for a while. I would caress my check and imagine it was you. I was a monster then. I look back now and don't even recognize myself. That really wasn't me. That was the me that tried to fill the hole I formed because I left every part of myself back there, with you and only you.
When I got my food I thought to myself 'I should probably stop eating this because I wanted to be the best possible version of everything you wanted, of everything you deserve when the years finally pass.' Looking back on those plans and who I am now is the equivalent of running over an already dead animal in the road. You know it's dead but that doesn't mean it's okay to do it even if it can't feel it.
I like to think that maybe you're trying to show me the good deep inside of me still. Past all of the mistakes and the things I've said and done. Maybe you're trying to get back at me for all of those bad things. I don't know. I choose to see the good in you and believe remembering isn't a curse but a blessing, even though this pain likes to think otherwise sometimes.
I know the best thing is for people to leave the past behind, but I don't know if you're really a part of my past or not. I've been scared of a lot of things in my life but thinking of growing and becoming who I'm meant to be, without you really being there, scares me beyond compare. It's frightening because I know I won't forget you like I did before. I won't forget any of these things and I will never let anyone take them away from me again.
The biggest unanswered question will always be if we ever magically seen each other years from now, maybe in a crowded street far from either place we are, or something like that. Without ever saying anything, without ever getting close. Just our eyes locking, will you still see the good in me and be proud or will you see the nasty and evil things I once was that made you give up on me being the one?