Your friend shot herself in the head with a shotgun a year ago, April 18th.
Two weeks earlier you were caught by federal rangers with a controlled substance…for the fourth time in three years.
You tried to hit me with your car in July.
We argued over whether I should introduce you as my girlfriend to my family in August in the middle of my brother’s wedding party.
In September, you told me you loved me for the first time while I was waist deep in depression. You drove off screaming “I never want to fucking talk to you ever again,” when I told you I couldn’t say it back. I walked home almost 6 miles on roads with no street lights.
October was a hazy collection of half-conscious arguments, resulting in…
November, where I tried to throw myself from a car moving 35 miles an hour just to get away from you after attempting to bash your face into the steering wheel by your own hair. It was because you didn’t trust me around other girls. Women I’ve known for years but never had any interest in. I only had interest in you. But you never trusted this. Now you don’t have me. Great job.
The next three weeks were cold, desolate; argument after pale-faced argument. Screaming till our heads felt like they might explode. And then they did.
In a fiery rage, I threw multiple picture frames, destroyed countless childhood artifacts, and toppled a hat tree before punching through my computer screen. Lying, bleeding from my hands and face, I choked on my hysterical fit, wanting, in that moment, to be wiped from the face of the Earth. You were the last person I talked to.
They took me to the hospital that night, that cold December night. There I would stay for 8 days. 8 whole days wondering what was to become of me. Eating generic off-brand ice cream and wondering if they let crazy people run the Boston Marathon.
Against all expectations, you came to visit me more than anyone. You helped guide me through. Lofty, heartfelt, promises through salty tears comforted the both of us. We emerged reborn, ready to take on the world and whatever perils we might face.
My parents barred from you their house until further notice, which, even though I was only the messenger, you leapt through the phone at me because you felt it was unfair. It was unfair. I agreed with you, but you said it was too hard. The it being us being together.
The next month was filled with loathing and self-doubt; wondering if I was doing things right to avoid another implosion. You got on my case about my running and even harped that you couldn’t be there to run with me. I’m an elite athlete who’s been competing for years. You just quit smoking cigarettes two months ago.
In January I surprised you by taking you out to dinner on your birthday and booking a special hotel room for a night just so we could be together. We didn’t have sex enough, though, and the bitter transgression of sexual tension split hairs like freshly sharpened knives. But you were gracious and said you loved me and that I was your “one and only.” It was a magical night. It was the start of something good…
That lasted until February. After spending an entire week together while both of our parents were out of town, you decided that there was such a thing as too much “good” time together. Our “blissful” week together sent you spiraling, wondering if we would ever spend that kind of time together ever again, even though we’re babies in the eyes of time. You broke up with me the next week in the middle of a Target parking lot without so much as a tear or waver in your voice. I wanted to rip your larynx out through your nose, but instead, I went home and fell into a manic depression that lasted a week and a half.
And then something changed. I wasn’t going to take it anymore.
With a 9 mile race coming up later that week, I decided I would no longer drown in the drink of your sorrow. I was tired. Tired of fighting, tired of yelling, tired of screaming. Tired of wondering if I was doing something wrong, or stepping on invisible toes that appeared to grow and shift and change on a near second-to-second basis. I took second in that race. It was my first top-five finish ever. You were there at the finish. But we never kissed to seal our celebration. You barely even cracked a smile.
March led to arguments and tears over February’s “blissful week”. Still trying to comprehend all that went wrong, you accused me of being selfish for being excited about the Boston Marathon, which just so happened to land on the same day your best friend shot her face off. Your grief was somehow my fault. I was being insensitive. You told me about divinity. You told me about God. We left that night on good terms, but I knew that every patch we made was like a Band-Aid over a fatal wound.
In April, we didn’t talk much. You didn’t want to interrupt my training and I didn’t want to cause you anymore grief. I ran that race with your name stitched to the back of my eyelids. Every footstep, every breath was powered by your being. But I barely talked to you that entire weekend. We communicated through digital devices, spelling out our inner thoughts in random twenty-word messages, rather than opening up and explaining how we felt.
I fell asleep before we could even say goodnight that night. The next morning you were quick to I Love You, but got upset when I couldn’t be there for you, for you, 600 miles away after just completing the greatest accomplishment my life has ever held.
And that was just the beginning…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chad W. Lutz was born in 1986 in Akron, Ohio, and raised in the neighboring suburb of Stow. He currently works in North Canton, writing web content for an online job resource website. He also serves as the managing editor of an online magazine, AltOhio.com. Chad runs competitively for a Northeast Ohio running club and swims in his spare time. He aspires to run the Olympic marathon at the 2016 games.