Shadows of Yesterday

Songs in this post: Handlebars (Flobots), Stupid Girls (P!nk), I’m Sorry (Flyleaf), Shake Me Down (Cage the Elephant), and Sail (Awolnation)

“Dear Reader,

This is the end. I’m not sure what else there is to live for anymore. Ever since my life fell apart, I’ve found that there is no putting it back together. Jean leaving was the final straw, the ultimate stimulus that led to me writing this letter, which I hope by now you have realized is my suicide letter.

Let me start at the beginning. I grew up in a fairly normal manner. I had everything that I needed, and most things that I wanted too. I had nothing to complain about until that October years ago. One night with Jean, and I realized that I wasn’t actually living life at all, but just going through the motions.

            You see, Jean wasn’t like all the other girls. She didn’t spend all of her time trying to impress other people. She did what she was going to do, and she really didn’t care what anyone else thought. She was never nervous to try anything new, and in fact, she reveled in doing something out of the ordinary. Her hair was never a normal color, deep purple when I met her, and her lip pierced. She definitely didn’t “fit in” with what the main society says is acceptable.

            The day I met her, she saw something in me that I myself hadn’t yet seen. We ordered very similar drinks at the corner coffee house, and got them mixed up. I was lucky, I knew the pretty girl’s name before meeting her. I introduced myself in my own nerdy self-confidence, and we hit it off right away. Who knew that punk-rock outcast girl and the outgoing smarty-pants guy would make such a lovely couple? It knew this was going to be something when the number she gave me was actually hers.

            Several days of wooing and quirky laughter and she was no longer just a friend. She had evolved into the role of my girlfriend. The days led to months of dates. He brought the fun out in me, and I began to taste the world again. Every time I tried something new and exciting, I always made sure she was there watching. “Look Jean, I’m actually doing it!” She was always there for me, encouraging me, telling me that I could do anything.

            Then she said yes to the one question I had been dying to ask her since the day I’d met her. It’s curious how a little word like fiancée changes your entire world. I could see how our two worlds were merging into one. We were looking for a house, talking about long-term plans, and using words like “ours” instead of “mine”. The guy that had been living alone and pretending like it was enough had ventured out of his shell, and was rewarded with someone to do life with. It was great.

            The ceremony was beautiful, but the marriage was even more so. We were doing great together still, unlike a lot of other marriages. Yeah we fought, but it wasn’t going to tear us apart, and we vowed to never let anything stew and boil over. Two years, then five. Married life hadn’t sucked all the joy from our lives, but had in fact brought even more into our lives. Just like in the real world though, life has storm clouds too.

            She had been feeling bad for a few months before she finally admitted she needed to see a doctor. If only she had gone sooner, maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad. She was always kidding around that the worse place to be positive is in a doctor’s office, but when she came up positive for the cancer, it was no longer a joke. She fought for years winning battles, but it was never enough. She kept getting weaker.

           She told me she was sorry. Sorry that the cancer and the drugs were putting our lives on hold. It just made me angrier at the cancer. I could only see her as a fighter, and never a victim. I knew that being there for her was killer her inside, but I had to do it.

            One day, after a treatment, we went to the park. It was her favorite place to be in the spring. We sat on her favorite bench and watched a dog playing fetch. I hugged her from behind, embracing her completely, and didn’t let go. Then she pointed to the sky and told me, “This is just a phase. We’ll get through this. We just have to keep looking up above where we are now.” She paused for a breath, but she never took it. She died in my arms talking about looking beyond the shadows of today. That was my Jean.

So I sit here writing this note, not sure what to do. Part of me hears Jean calling me to join her in the blackness to be with her forever. The other part hears her telling me to look past today and see the good in the world. I can’t see how I could do either, but I have to make a decision. I guess if you’re reading this, you know what I decided. If you know nothing about this note, I chose to escape my shadows.

Scared and confused,

Nate”

            It was growing late, so he switched off the light, and shut the computer.  This was far too big of a decision to be made now. He’d sleep on it and decide in the morning. Who knows, maybe the sunlight would help clear his head.

            “Goodnight Jean. I always have and I always will, truly love you.”