I have never been an easy person to love. Behind my bright smile is a recuperating heart with loaded emotions, fear of abandonment, and a flair for the dramatic. I don’t do well with inconsistency. One break from routine with a friend or lover and I panic. Will this be the beginning of the end for us? I’m not proud to own that truth. But after watching so many faces come and go in one lifetime, its hard not to have friendships that coexist in fear.
But I try. And ever so often, I meet someone who makes my effort seem worthwhile. Someone who makes the anxiety feel foreign. Someone who reminds me that even if not effortlessly, I can be loved.
In 2013, I met someone who accepted me in my rawest form. He took my sassy tongue and placed sweet words of understanding on it. For him, I wasn’t too much. He had a lot of … experience with the streets and had dealt with much worse. He returned my sass with some of his own. I was elated to learn that I wasn’t a lost cause. If someone hung around long enough, my walls would crumble and my shoulders would relax. I let his friendship in, slowly but surely. And over time, he proved his loyalty.
After a terrible car accident and broken clavicle, I was unable to move my body much. I couldn’t drive nor use the restroom on my own. I was somewhat of a mess. My mom raced up from St.Louis to care for me but could only stay for a short time. To add to our stress, I had just moved into my apartment earlier that week and had no furniture (bed or couch). Needless to say, I was hardly prepared to sleep on the hardwood floor with my injury.
Much to my surprise, this friend of mine stayed overnight(s) to support me – literally. Each night, he held my body up against his as we slept Indian-style against the living room wall. Propped up with nothing but an overstuffed trash bag of clean clothes, I fell asleep against his chest. I loved the conversations we would have before I drifted off to sleep. But every few hours, I would wake up in excruciating pain – throwing up what little I had consumed for food. Without one complaint, my friend would get up from his sleep, grab a towel and help clean me up.
We lost touch over time – popping in and out of each others life to say hello and for an occasional argument or two :). Today I learned of his death. He was shot in the head this August and died shortly after being rushed to the hospital. My eyes feel heavy from all of the tears I’ve shed in his memory. I knew him as someone who deserved better than a senseless, brutal death. But obviously there were others who knew him differently.
Its amazing how someone can be a certain way with you and yet completely different with someone else. How could someone so loving, draw so much anger from another person? His death has made me question my impact on others and the memory that I’ll leave them with. I don’t want anyone to carry the burden of wishing they could have said thank you or I love you to me when I’m no longer here. And I don’t want to wait until its too late to reflect on someone’s impact in my life. I want more than anything to embrace all of my close friends right now and tell them I appreciate them. That includes my nosies :).
Find those people who have made a difference in your life – small or large – and let them know that they matter, while you still can.
Nosy Josie JE13
via Daily Prompt Realize