Twelve years ago, today.
The night my life got messy and complicated.
I remember every painful second of that ordeal—the cops who wouldn’t listen, the quizzical looks from friends, the coroner’s announcement, the two-word phone call to our parents, the detective who refused to let me drive the half a block because I was too hysterical.
I remember it all.
I’ll never forget it.
It was the moment I went from naïve 26-year-old to adult in an instant. Sure, by then I was married, had a house, and was even in grad school, but none of that felt like being an adult. It wasn’t until I lost the one man I looked up to that I realized it was time to step up or step out.
You came to my doorstep with your belongings in the back of a pickup truck, and even more emotional baggage than I was prepared to handle. I knew you had your demons, but I had no idea just how tightly their grip around your throat really was.
I tried to pry their fingers loose, one-by-one, and sometimes I made progress.
But for every step forward, there was always a step back. Sometimes more.
Until finally you’d had enough walking and decided to rest. Permanently.
I can’t say I understand it, because I don’t. I never will. I can say I forgive myself, but I won’t. Everyone says it’s not my fault—the rest of our family, my husband, my therapist—but they weren’t there when I saw you last. They weren’t there to hear the words that could oh so easily be misconstrued.
You had messaged me to tell me you had a present for me. Like the little kid that I was, I went over to your apartment to accept my gift.
I wrestle with thanks or regret for that.
On the one hand, I had an excuse to hang out with you one last time. Sitting on my old couch, watching a movie about siblings. I’m forever grateful for that.
On the other hand, that visit gave me the opportunity to put my foot in my mouth one more time. To say the one line that has unraveled me since the day it happened. The one thing that I didn’t mean the way I fear you took it. The one thing I’ll never get to take back.
But I do. I take it back.
I’d take back everything I ever said to hurt you if it could bring you back.
Today’s writing prompt: Write a post inspired by the word: messy.