That Little Prince

It’s summer but I spring cleaned my room this week, for what seemed to be the umpteenth time. It’s not that I’m messy. It’s a controlled chaos. Sometimes that controlled chaos gets a little frizzy, so I have to come around and tame it a bit, just like everyone else. Actually, not like anyone else but that’s not why I’m here. I’m here because during this so-called “spring cleaning” I stumbled across an item that sent me reeling back to a time that once was. It was a book gifted to me by someone special in the days before me moving back home from CA. The book is “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint Exupery.

The book came to me initially by recommendation. I was at my local library at the time scanning isles, nothing really jumping out at me. One thing about me and my trips to the library, which could be either good or bad or neither really, is the fact that I never went in with a plan as to what I was looking for. I would just walk up and down the row of bookshelves, with hopes that the right one would jump out at me. On one of my trips searching for that right book, I accidentally (on purpose) bumped into my crush. Now, this tall glass of water worked there restocking books. By this point we hadn’t exchanged more than a few words here and there, and definitely some stolen glances. This particular day was the beginning of something special. After apologizing for the minor collision, he asked me if there was something in particular that I was looking for. I told him the method to my madness and in turn he asked me if I was open to any recommendations. I, of course, accepted. I would have accepted almost anything by him at this point, and that’s when he mentioned The Little Prince.

Typically, I do not judge a book by it’s cover, not in any aspect that you can apply that phrase to. Taking a look at the font cover of this one, however, made me doubt my desire to read this book. It did look a bit adolescent to me, but what did I expect when taking recommendations from an almost complete stranger. That same night I sat on my bed and began reading, and by early the next morning I was finished. I closed the book amazed at the fact that something so small could pack such a big punch.

I walked to the library the next day, all the while planning on how I was going to walk up to him directly, without any pretenses other than to thank him for the recommendation. It’s not everyday that someone impresses me with a good read, and so I walk in. I dropped the book into the “return” bin and scanned the library, wondering where he could be. Maybe in the non-fiction, historical section? Religious or Spiritual isle? Or maybe in the cooking section? I couldn’t find him, but it didn’t take him long to find me.

He asked me out on a date that day. I was over the moon. I had always thought I would meet the man of my dreams in a library, and walah! It happened. From the night of our first date, we were inseparable. I found a lot of joy sharing my time with him, as we both learned and experience so much with one another. The tragedy didn’t come for months later, but it was one that I saw coming, hoping in silence that it wouldn’t. I was to return back home after a year of not being able to get my life together there. It had all been so hard, much harder than I ever thought it would be. Jobs were scarce and those that I was able to obtain never lasted long. They were either temp jobs or paid peanuts. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how little I tried to eat, no matter the times I would sit in my home with all the lights off, trying to conserve any bit of electricity I could, I never had enough money to cover life in CA. I had two major heartbreaks that year, leaving CA, and leaving him behind.

After having to deliver the news of my return home, the weeks following that were filled with happiness draped in a woven quilt of sadness. We tried to make sure that we relished in every moment that we spent together, but as the days would turn into darkness, the feeling became more desolate, each day being one day closer to that of me leaving.

On the last day that we spent together, we did nothing remarkably special. We went to our favorite burger joint, the one where we went to the day after I first spent the night and morning with him. We rode around the neighborhoods in his El Camino, taking in the last bit of Cali streets I would be seeing in what I knew would be a long time, if ever again. That night we hung out in his bedroom, and after a while of listening to music and reminiscing of our times together he mentioned that he had something for me. I closed my eyes and once reopened, there in front of me, was the library copy of The Little Prince.

Fast forward to earlier this week when I was cleaning out my room, I began dusting the books that lined the walls of my bedroom. Dusting was something that I hadn’t done the last time I cleaned, which is probably why I hadn’t noticed the book there before. The moment I saw it and picked it up, my heart skipped a beat and slightly sunk. So many memories resurfacing, pulling at my heart, instances that I had thought I tucked away so many years ago. I brushed of the dusty cover and opened the book, and there on the inside cover was the quote…

“But she in herself is more important than all of you because she is the one I watered. Because she is the one I put a glass dome. Because she is the one I sheltered behind a screen. Because it is for her that I killed caterpillars (all except for two or three who were to become butterflies). Because she is the one I have listened to, complaining, or boasting, or sometimes when she says nothing. Because she is my rose.”

Immediately after reading this, I felt almost every emotion one can feel. Happiness and sadness. Anger. Guilt. After leaving CA, it wasn’t long when I had slowly started to cease communication with him. I had been depressed. I felt as though CA was such a painful experience that I just couldn’t continue to remember. I knew I had, too, broken his heart and I didn’t feel ok in knowing that by keeping in touch, I could be hurting him even more. Before I knew it, communication completely stopped, and even though I have since reached out on a number of occasions, our talks have never been longer than just a couple sentences.

By the time I wanted to try to save even a friendship, it had been too late. I lost him.

If I could tell him anything, I would tell him how sorry I was to have let our friendship go silent. I made a mistake by closing a chapter in my life that was too painful to continue reliving and by doing so, I lost one very important highlight of what once was a time so cold. I’ve never forgotten, nor will ever forget what it was to have a person like you on my team, making some of my best memories in CA being shared with one very special Little Prince, that one who got away.

A Mental “Feel Better”

When you’re having a hard time in life, boy does it fucking suck.

It did for me anyways. Big time.

I was looking at unemployment, residential displacement, feeling lonely, and ridiculous amounts of internal conflict over external bullshit. The gears in my mind, lubricated in anxiety, were continuously winding and that’s never any help. I am a thinker, it’s what I do. My overthinking at times is beneficial but most times it hinders my journey towards a more peaceful state of mind. During a depressed phase, over thinking can easily creep in and before you know it you’re caught up in a web of misery and the less you talk about it the greater that misery becomes. You drown in these dark feelings and for just a split second, if you allow it to happen, you give into the drowning, letting yourself sink just a little bit. That was me. For a split second, or more like an entire morning, I allowed myself to sink. I felt myself exhausted and quickly began to question even my very existence.

For may people, reaching this moment is almost like washing up onto the shores of the island of No Return. They lose hope and cling onto the sadness for so long that they only feel comfortable there. But that is only because most people do not know of the tools life has supplied us with in order to survive periods such as these. I am one of the fortunate few to have learned of these internal tools that we were given. I am one of the few who believes in these tools and that is the difference between some of those people and myself.

So how did I snap out of this depression that I was experiencing? I didn’t. One doesn’t just “snap” out of these emotions. You don’t just snap your fingers and wala you’re out of the darkness, nor is it a like a light switch you can just flick on and off. No. It’s a process and for everyone it is a slightly different one considering we are all so unique. Our healing process should be customized to our individual needs as well as to every given situation.

On this particular day my process began with a little rage cleaning. It was early in the morning when I woke up to feces all over my living room floor. My dog had apparently gotten a horrible case of diarrhea during the night and had shitted all over the place. I found the smears within minuets of me waking up and it quickly sent me into a tizzy. I frantically began cleaning like a mad woman (I was a mad woman) swearing under my breath as if releasing the “f” bomb was somehow helping me scrub just that much harder. Before I knew it, the living room, the dining room, and kitchen were pristine and once I was satisfied off I went for a deep cleaning of my own.

My shower is my safe haven. I imagine the water rinsing away my worries even though deep inside I know that it’ll only be for the time being. The steam relaxes my tense muscles and I float away..

It’s only once I’m finished and in the mirror getting ready that I begin to remember all my troubles and at this point is when I actually let myself fall away into the depths of my despair. I wail like a child, sobbing from the center of my soul, cries pouring out of me and invading the silent air. Within my normal life, I hardly ever cry, so as I do now, I stare at myself in the mirror. I stare fiercely into my water eyes. I allow to see myself like this. I allow myself to feel all the emotions that run through me, vibrant and strong like an electrical current and shocking my senses. I’m  allowing myself to feel everything that I had been clearly feeling for quite some time but was always trying to hide.

Instinctively I turn and reach for a notebook and begin writing. I do what is called a “Brain Dump” and write everything that comes to mind. Whether it made sense or not in the notebook it went. All my feelings, thoughts, concerns, everything was written down in the pages of my journal, some of it gibberish, most of it not. I purged everything that I was feeling and by the end of it, five pages later to be exact, my soul was feeling lighter. I wanted to keep this going. I wanted (needed) this mental feel better and so taking advantage of the fact that I was home alone I decided to then get myself into total zen mode.

I lay out my yoga mat strategically in front of my bedroom window so I get some of that natural sunlight hitting my skin. The only electronic device that is powered at this moment is my phone which plays nature meditation music, specifically downloaded for moments such as these. I sit Indian style, facing the sun, eyes closed, and focus deeply on my breathing. I sit there like this for whats seems several mins and then slowly begin to stretch my body. Section by section I stretch and while doing so, I speak to each body part, showing love and gratitude. I connect with this vessel my soul is encapsulated in and not only thank it, but also reiterate to it how it is enough. I begin my affirmations and soon all negative thoughts that once thrived, circling around in my mind, dispersed. They became nothing. In its place stood me and all the good that I had temporarily forgotten.

“I am healthy. I am loved. I am in love with everything around me. Money flows freely into my life which helps promote spiritual growth. I am happy. I radiate positivity. I am enough. I am exactly where I need to be. The universe is conspiring in my favor.”

I recite these and more within in my mind letting it penetrate every cell within my body and it does. I begin to feel strong once again. I begin to feel empowered. Before I knew it I was running on a natural high. No, all of my problems hadn’t just disappeared, but I had the strength and the courage to face them without any self doubt. I had replenished my internal oil lamp and it was radiating so much light, no darkness could invade. Suddenly, there was no problem without a solution.

After my mini mental break down and rebuild, it took me a couple days to really feel 100% me again. I made sure to get good sleep and to actually eat at least somewhat healthier. I also spent a lot of time listening to motivational videos and webinars whenever I could. I would play them as I did my cleaning around the house or as I went for my runs. I’d let them play as background noise, trying to soak it as much as I could and it worked.

To many, this all may seem like a lot of hippy hoopla  but in actuality it takes work to be happy and if happy is what we want to be then effort is what we have to put in. To really feel the pain that you’re going through builds your inner strength. It gives what you’re feeling a voice and it helps you to move on. Merely hiding your issues may get you over it for a second but doesn’t allow for you to get through it permanently. Addressing your inner dialogue is highly important as well. It is true when they say, “You become what you think.” Our minds hold much more power than most of us know and it is imperative to our well being to keep our thoughts positive and motivating. We can be our own worst enemy and it begins with our minds so be mindful of your inner dialogue with yourself and stop being so darn hard on yourself! Meditation can help with this. Silencing your mind for just a couple mins a day can help tremendously and allows for you to regain control of your mind when it does begin to wander off into darker territories.

As I previously stated, everyone is uniquely different and so the process of getting back to feeling like oneself after a moment of gloom will be equally as different. I know that this time, this is what worked for me. In sharing this, I hope to help others who are maybe having a rough day find a way to replenish their internal oil lamp and stop them from being overcome by the darkness that threatens their happiness. Whether it’s meditation, writing, dancing around your apartment like a goober, whatever the method may be, find what works for you. Life is too short to be stranded on the island of No Return for any given amount of time, and remember happiness is a choice.

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Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

A Wish On A Bad Day

Getting out of bed can be a feat.

It takes every ounce of energy to even whip off the covers.

To look in the mirror is almost cruel and unusual punishment. Who is that that stares right back at me? A familiar face with distraught features. A shell with nothing in it.

Sometimes feeling utterly alone, all I want to do is yell loud at the top of my smokey lungs, simply to be heard. I want to scream so loud, “I’M HERE!” that I burst !POOF! into a trillion little, itty bitty particles, dissipating  into a different dimension. Slowly float away, every piece moving into a different direction, never getting back together again. This is me me on a bad day.

On a bad day there is no me getting out of bed to conquer the day, no. If I get out of bed on a bad day, you’d be lucky if it’s to shower. On a bad day I eat ice cream for breakfast and straight out of the carton. I watch sad movies and t.v shows, listen to sad songs, and ignore any and all responsibilities.

There isn’t a phone call I will answer. There isn’t a text I quickly respond to. On a bad day no communication matters. Not even the one I have between pen and paper. On a bad day I have no friends. I have no family. On a bad day it is me against the world. Even the sunniest day on a bad day is doom and gloom.

No books of fantasy and make believe can snap me out of  having a bad day.  To read word after word takes too much energy. It’s energy I rather save for the fits of rage that will later come and go. Energy I rather save for my pillow that will be soon fluffed to death by punches of sorrow.

I hardly have these bad days but when I do, world prepare, because these are dark dark days. I am a glass half full that has been knocked over. On a bad day I am damaged like a rotten apple that has fallen from its branch and left sadly on the ground. On the grass I lay, dying,  as I stare up into the sky. My wishes of better days to come float up into the heavens only to be ignored by the angels of the white light. Saints of darkness, instead, breath them in and cough them out.

Wishes of better days go on to die… and again, I’m left totally behind.

A dying wish alone on a bad day.

Hindsight

Nov. 27, 2015

Amazing how quickly life changes. A continuous evolution. A cycle of happiness and sadness. Moments of triumph mixed with moments of failure tainted in despair. I find my shelter in the bubbles of the Witch’s Brew. I find comfort only within these pages. I’ve got no home. My home are the few possessions I carry within my soul. Those no one can take from me. I will no longer stand for the material, not that I ever truly did before, but now I firmly believe that NONE of that shit ever really matters. All of it is impermanent bullshit. What lasts forever no one can touch, an intangible of sorts. All the best things in life no one can touch.

 

Dec. 15, 2015

Sensitivity is drowning me today. Prickly behind the eyes. A throat full of lumps too hard to swallow. I go throughout my day frolicking in wonderment, picking flowers full of thorns and berries coated in poison. Today I’ll listen to every sad song and relate to its every heartbreaking lyric. Not every day is meant to be lived in bliss. Not every emotion ever felt will be a positive one. Cheers to the days that exemplifies balance. Here’s to living through today in hopes of experiencing a better tomorrow.

 

Dec. 16, 2015

“I think everyone is looking for something they already have.” -Jim Carrey

What is it that I already have? For I feel as though I have nothing.

 

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The very next day after this last journal entry I was arrested for Driving Under the Influence. I died that day and was born a new person. It has not been the first bottom I hit. Nor will it be my last. If I look back on it today, I knew a storm was brewing within me. I hid everything behind a smile and with a sip of the Witch’s Brew. I lost myself and instead of setting out to find myself again, I unknowingly decided to allow myself to self destruct.  Hindsight is an amazing thing, but what is even more precious than that is the ability to be present. If I would have been present and acknowledged all that was going on within me I could have avoided so much.

Yet, by not doing so, I opened up the doors to a rebirth.

I look back and read the journal entries of what I feel like have been some of my darkness hours and I don’t feel sorrow or pain. I feel joy. I feel elated. I can see the strength I hold within, the very strength that has gotten me through so much. At the time, I felt weak and alone, when in reality I was everything BUT that. The tough times have shown me how strong I am. They were there to remind me of the warrior I have within. I appreciate every harsh moment because they have built me into who I am at this very moment.

I post this because I know. I have felt what many of you are going through right this very moment. It may seem like you’re alone. It may seem as though you rather get lost in a world of chaos and substance, but you don’t have to. You can be present and avoid the hard road that otherwise lies ahead of you. Your rebirth could go a lot smoother than mine. You’ve just got to slow down and take the time… Take the time to feel, To analyze. Stop and smell the rotting roses because those rotting roses are helping you to see that you need to go and find some light. Listen, truly listen, to that inner self. It is crying out to save you. There is too much pain and sadness inflicted by the world. Be at least that one who listens.

Give yourself a listen.

925268_1424359037835933_790425651_n Photo credit: Natal Galvan

Sandbox Blues

Mother swings me off her hips and gently places me into the box of soft white dust.

“Sit here and play a bit. Mommy is going to sit over there and have a chat with Suzie.” She points her painted red nail to where this Suzie woman is already sitting. Mother kisses me on the head but before she walks off she points again but this time directly in front of me and says, “Look, you have a play pal.” and with that she turns and walks off. I glance from my mother back to the kid sitting. It’s a boy and he looks as if he has black snakes slithering around his head, but what looks like snakes are actually his thick curls slightly swaying in the breeze.

“Lets make friends.” As my mother would say. Determined to not sit by myself any longer I get up, my legs wobbling a bit at first. I slowly and steadily make my way over, smiling to myself. My joy is cut short. As I finally make my way over to him I notice the trails of  moisture off of his cheeks sparkling in the sun. He’s crying. I reach him but I don’t sit at first. I’m just standing there staring at him and after a few beats he turns to look at me with his big blue watery eyes. He takes a couple of quick deep breaths, which gives away that he had been fiercely crying earlier, I know the drill. I plop down next to him and he turns to look away, bunching up dust in his tiny little fists and then slowly releasing it, allowing it to slip between his fingers.

That was the day I had met my best friend Henry. Now looking back I should have known then what was going to transpire later on in life. A relationship that begins on such a sad accord could only be giving clues as to how it would later play out, no? The day we met we spent the entire time doodling in the sand. His tears had eventually dried out and replaced by a tiny smile. Since that day, any time mother took me to the playground I always looked for him, and he was always there. Henry didn’t have a mommy. She had died while giving birth to him, a tragedy that he was never able to forgive himself for. His father was some big wig over at the DA’s office and was never home so Henry’s nanny was the one to really raise him. Henry only lived a couple blocks away from me so we ended going from playground buddies to classmates. As we got older we became inseparable. If we weren’t in the same classes, we met up at “our” lunch table and made sure we caught each other up on whatever we had missed out on. If we didn’t have the same lunch period that school year then it was on the bike ride home we played “catch up”. If either of us missed school, you better believe  that the other would show up after school with arms full of homework along with updates on the latest gossip. Of course we each had other friends but they didn’t come close to being as tight with Henry and I as we were with each other.

I remember it was sophomore year in highschool when my good girlfriend, Cherie, asked me, “Kira, why don’t you and Henry just date? He’s cute and you two get along so well. You’d never fight! Might as well!” She said enthusiastically. “Have you two ever done stuff ?” I slapped her arm. It was almost a natural reaction.

“Cherie!! No! Of course not!” I laughed loudly.

“So, No you wouldn’t date him or No you two haven’t done anything?!” she giggled.

What no one knew was that Henry and I had been each other’s first kiss. We had been in the 7th grade and it was a couple hours before before we were headed to our first middle school dance. We had dates and were speaking about them as I finished styling my hair for the night.

“The slow dances are going to be cool. I never really slow danced with someone before.” He said. “Well actually, ma and nana did a couple times when one of her favorite songs played. That doesn’t count though.” He then seemed to get a little distracted. I could tell he was thinking about her. Henry’s nanny died the year before and it was a tremendous loss for him. Since he never got to know his mother, his nanny was “mom” for him. To be honest, he probably missed his nanny more than his own mother.

“Well..” I tried changing the subject. “the last song of the night is always a slow song. It’s when you’re supposed to kiss your date.” The distraction worked for his full attention was now on me.

“Na uh! How do you know that?!” he asked skeptically.

“I heard the other kids talking about it in the hallway yesterday. They were talking about how you had to time it perfectly so you’d get done kissing before they turned the bright lights on.” I finished doing my hair with one final spray of my hairspray. I made my way to the bed where Henry was sitting. He was picking at a little lint ball that was holding on to my comforter.

“Well I wasn’t nervous about tonight until now. I’ve never kissed anyone before. What if I mess up? Or what if we kiss for too long and they turn the lights on!? Or what if she doesn’t even want to kiss me?” His mind was racing. It was pretty typical for Henry to get anxious. He was beginning to sweat a little.

“Dude! Relax! You’ll be fine! I happen to know that Amy is ecstatic to be your date tonight so why wouldn’t she want to kiss you?”

“I don’t know! What if I begin to stink or I’m not as decent as a dancer as I think I am?! Who knows! Girls are fucking weird!” He wiped away sweat from his brow. Any second now and he would start hyperventilating.

“Hey!” I shoved him.We both began to laugh and it wasn’t long after that my idea struck. “I have an idea!!!” I shot over to wear my CD player sat. “What if we practice?! I’ve never kissed anybody either and Brian’s like an expert. I don’t want to seem like a complete amateur. We could just practice on each other!” I was super excited. I mean, what are best friends for, right?

Henry thought about it for a moment, “I don’t know.Won’t it be a little weird?” Just like him, always questioning everything.

“How would it be weird?! We’re best friends! Who better to practice with?” I was rummaging through the stack of CDs that were shelved right next to the player.

“What are you doing?” He asked, still sitting on my bed but this time staring at me.

“I’m going to play a slow song and we’re going to practice kissing. It’ll help us to get the timing down too.” I found the CD I was looking for, popped it in and went to track 11.

“I never agreed to this. This is a really weird idea.” He ran his long slim fingers through his hair.

“Oh come on. Why do you find it so weird? Am I not pretty? Do I smell bad? Is there something in my teeth?” I walked towards my bedroom mirror.

“NO! You look great and there’s nothing in your teeth. I would have said something by now. He stood up and walked towards me. He stood a few steps behind me so that I could see his reflection in my mirror. “You don’t just find it a little weird two best friends practice kissing? It would make us each other’s first kiss! That’s not weird to you?”

I turned around and walked over to where he stood. I took his hands and placed them around my waist. I wrapped both of mine around his neck. The music had been playing and soon we began moving to the beat. We danced for a minute and once I felt like the timing was right I reached my lips up towards his. He met me halfway and we stayed there for longer than anticipated by either of us.

“Kira! Henry! Time to go! If you want to meet up with your dates and drive together we have to leave now!” My mother’s voice shook us apart like an electrical current. We began to laugh hysterically.

“Ok mom!” I shouted through my laughter. I ran over to the Cd player and shut it off and before running out the door grabbed my purse which sat on the bed. Henry was right behind me as we reached the door but before I opened it, I turned to look at him, “Honestly, I’m glad you were my first kiss.” and with that said, I turned the door knob and headed downstairs.

We had a great time at the dance that night and when the moment came, we each pulled off a spectacular kiss. Deep down inside, I felt like it was nothing compared to my first kiss.

The school years passed and towards the end of senior year we both found ourselves suddenly single. We went to our senior prom together and neither of us found it anymore appropriate. That night we ended up at an after-prom party. It was at our friend’s cabin right out on the lake and everyone was invited. We all partied hard and once the sun was about to make its appearance, Henry and I decided to end our festivities like any other normal teenager and headed to Denny’s for some early morning breakfast.

We’re sitting opposite of each other and spread before us was smorgasbord of breakfast foods, a personal buffet line. Except that we didn’t have to get up to get our food, it was all in hands reach. We stuffed our faces with blueberry pancakes, french toast, bacon, home fries, omelets, homemade biscuits, cinnamon sugar pancake puppies. You name it, if it was a breakfast item, we made sure to get an order. Halfway through our meal Henry takes a deep breath and leans back into the booth. This is one of his dead give-a-ways in letting you know that he had hit his limit. Me? It’s like I have a bottomless pit in my stomach so I just keep gorging myself. After a few minutes of silence Henry blurted out, “I’m joining the military, Ki” I was in the middle of chewing on some seriously stuffed strawberry french toast and hadn’t realized I had yet to swallow. There was sweet cream cheese stuffing on my lips, I could feel it. All I could was stare at him at first. Had I heard right? I was chewing so maybe I had misheard. The military?  “I know,” he continues,”You’re wondering where this came from and how it’s not “me” but…I really don’t know what else to do once we graduate. I hardly know what I want to do tomorrow let alone 5 years down the line. How could I dish out a shitload of money on college classes when I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life?” I slowly swallowed what I had in my mouth. The taste of the sweet strawberries and the deliciousness of that cinnamon battered french toast made my stomach feel much better. “I already took the entrance exam. I tested pretty high,” he smiled. “I passed the physical too. I feel like this would be good for me Ki. It’ll buy me sometime while I decide on what to be when I grow up. Plus, they’ll help me with school and great benefits.” He forked through the pile of blueberry pancakes.

“Hey! Don’t! Not unless you’re going to eat them!.” I fanned his hand away from the food. I take my early morning Denny’s sessions seriously. “So I did hear you right. At first I was questioning my hearing.” The shock of it all was still trying to sink in. “My best friend Henry is going into the military. That’s no joke, Hen. I’ve seen documentaries with kids just like you. They join for the money to fund an education they cannot afford. You know what happens, Hen? They comeback losing limbs or in a box, dude.” I was working myself up now. How could he leave? Off to fight other people’s battles for some extra time to think of what he wanted for his future? “Plus, who’s going to be my bestie while you’re gone? I’ll be stuck in this  town just going to college with no cool friends.” I protested selfishly.

“Ki, stop being dramatic. I’ll be fine. I’ll come back in one piece I promise and not in a box.” He picked up a strip of bacon and chomped half of it off. “You’ll make friends at school too, just watch. You’ll forget all about Hen.” He smirked at me.

“Those “friends” I meet won’t be half as cool as you so forgetting about you is out of the question. I am really going to miss you. I can’t believe you’re really serious.”

“Before you know it I’ll be back, Ki. I’ve just got to do this for me.” He just stared at me. I knew he meant business. He was that kind of person. Once he had made up his mind about something he stuck to it no matter how nervous or anxious it may have made him feel. It was one of the qualities I admired about him the most. Not like myself who was fickle and a complete walking contradiction. I grabbed his hand and held it tightly between both of mine.

“I’m going to write you all the time, Hen. I’ll keep you posted on everything. It’ll be like you’re not over in some weird and unfamiliar country. You’ll feel like your home.” I said.

And I did.

I wrote him, if not everyday, than every other day. I wrote to him about everything. I gave him every detail on the college life so to make him feel like he was attending with me. I of course kept him up to speed on the latest town gossip so he felt like he had never left. He would write me letters back talking about how awful the food was and how he was slowly adapting to military life. The years went on and the communication stayed constant and before I could even fathom the day was here. He was finally on his way back home.

He arrived a week after my college graduation. i drove 3 hours to go pick him up from the airport. I was so excited to see him. I hardly remember the last time I got to see his face in person. As I pull up to the curb I see him standing there. His curly hair was gone and although he looked more muscular, he also looked a lot thinner than what she remembered. His eyes wore dark circles and were a little sunken in. He smiled when he saw my car but the light in his eyes didn’t look so bright. I had barely placed the car in park when I ran out and over to where he stood. We embraced like we did that night of our first kiss, hugging tight like lovers would. A strange feeling hit me then. I stare up into his eyes and saw so much sadness that my eyes teared up. “Are you ok?” My voice barely more than a whisper.

“I feel much better now.” He said as he too stared into my eyes. At that moment we were frozen in time. It was at that very moment we both realized what was so obvious to everyone else all these years. To be there in his arms was exactly where I needed to be. Cars began to pile up around us, some of the drivers beeping for us to get out of the way. On the way home we were silent, only stealing glances at each other while the radio filled the air.  That night after we made love he said to me, “You were the only thing that got me through the dark times. You and your letters. It was through your letters that I soon came to realize how much I loved you and how I couldn’t wait to see you face to face again so I could tell you. I was a nervous mess when I was getting ready to fly back home, but once I saw you pull up and looked at that face, I knew it was going to be alright.” He smoothed hair away from my face and kissed my forehead.

“I love you too.” Were the only words I could get to come out.

I now stand here staring at Hen, thinking about all the beautiful memories we made together. I will make it my mission to allow only the good memories out weigh the sad ones, out weigh the final one.

When Henry came back, he was a truly changed man. Where as before he was an average boy with slight anxiety and nerves, he now was suffering from constant panic attacks during the day, and horrible nightmares at night. His moods would sway from one extreme to the other within a blink of an eye. We went to various doctors and psychologists but it wasn’t long before Hen was wrapped up in complete and utter depression.

I had just gotten home from work the day I found him hanging in the living room with a note at his feet that read, “I’m sorry Ki” and to this very day I carry that note around with me at all times. Some people carry around pictures of their loved ones around in their wallet. I carry my boyfriend’s suicide note. I always go back to thinking about the day we met in the sandbox and how since that very day we had become inseparable. We had grown to become so close and it took us so long to make our friendship into something more, yet it took absolutely no time for life to take it away. I lost my best friend and the love of my life in the same day and because of that I carry with me a heavy blanket of sadness. Beyond that sadness there does hide a bit of joy though because I knew Hen like no one else in the world did. I had the opportunity to not only know him but to love him and that is something for me to truly treasure. On a good day, when I close my eyes I can recall so many beautiful memories and I am undoubtedly so blessed to have them.

I give him one final kiss on his cold, pale forehead. I place my hand on his and let it linger there before I pull away from him. With every step I take my chest constricts knowing that he would be in that box forever, his final resting place at age 26.

I reach the church doors and push open. The sun beams immediately hit my face warming my cheeks and my soul a little. I take in one deep breath and as I let it out heads down the steps and towards my car. I unlock my car but before I get in  I take a few seconds to stare at what was across the parking lot in front of me, the park, and two little kids playing in the sandbox.