Sometimes I find myself wondering how I can possibly miss something, or someone, that I never got to know. And yet I do with an uncontrollable ache that isn’t possible for me to even put into words. Two unmemorable years was all we had. I’ve spent so much of my life asking why. And yet it’s a question that’ll forever remain unanswered. Who were you? At only 26 years old did you even know? At 40 I feel like I’m just starting to figure myself out. But if you existed who would I have become? Yes, I’ve inherited Dad’s short-fused temper and stubbornness and cursed with Grandma’s big hips, but for the most part I’m comfortable with who I am. What would you have given me? What was your favorite memory? What were your dreams? What kept you up at night? I saw a sign today that said: “You only live once but if you live right that’s enough.” Did you live right? Was it enough? You never even had the chance to learn the word “regret” because you’d barely started living.
Sometimes I daydream about what I’d say if I was miraculously given a moment with you. But sitting here, thinking about you, I don’t think I would say a single word. Instead I would simply stare at you. Look over every detail and try to memorize the lines around your face. The shape of your hands. The color of your eyes. It’s hard not knowing in my own memories what you looked like. Pictures don’t tell the full story.
I hated you for years. You left ME. You were stolen from ME. You were taken away from ME. You were supposed to be smarter than that. Of course I didn’t really hate you. But I’m so good at being angry and so bad at being sad. You weren’t there to teach me. To show me how to cry. How to feel. But somehow we managed. When given no choice, you do what you can. And you picked a good one, you know. Not many could have done what he did. And did again. And does.
What would you think of me? Do you see me failing over and over with my own kids? Do you see me punishing myself at the end of each day for losing my shit so often? What would you do? You never got the chance to find out. You aren’t here to tell me what to do. Can you feel my frustration, my worries, my insanity, my happiness, my love?
By not being here, you wielded me with a permanent suit of armor. It’s protected me. But it’s also failed me. Because it’s a hard burden to carry. And sometimes I get very, very tired. But I’ve lived so long with it, that I don’t know how to take it off. It’s become a part of who I am. And to take it off would leave me in a state of vulnerability that I’m not sure I can, or even want to, live with.
On this day I wish I had just one memory. Some small remembrance of a time we shared together. But instead all I’m left with are dreams that won’t come true and feelings I’ll never experience. However, you gave me life. You fueled the breaths that I take. And for that I thank you. For giving me the life that you were denied. On this day, and every day of my life, I will continue to think of you. To dream of you. And to wonder. Because once upon a time, you were more than just a nonexistent memory.
Love, the ONE you’ll never know