How the time flies. I can't believe it's been 20 years since I last saw your face. 20 years since the last time I heard you laugh or walked with you to my next class. You were my best friends when I didn't think I wanted to be close to anyone in a place I couldn't stand. We were both transplants from the North in a hick town in the middle of the South. From the day we met we were inseparable. You were there for me through thick and thin. You listened to me bitch about my relationship and you promised to always be there for me. You didn't get to full-fill that promise in the physical sense, but I know you are still with me. Still watching over me and now my kids.
I will never forget the night I got the phone call telling me you were gone.....
It was as horrible November day. The weather was crappy, it was pouring rain and there were tornado warning all around. We were on Thanksgiving break from school. I hadn't gotten to see you over vacation because you had family down from Michigan. It was about 7 at night when I got the phone call. Someone I couldn't stand called me. They told me you had been in a car accident and that you were dead. I thought it was an awful prank. I remember telling them that they could kiss my ass, and that they were just flat out mean for saying those things. I was so angry at them. But in the back of my mind I was terrified that it was true. I hung up the phone and called R. I told him what they told me. I made him call your parents to see if it was true. I couldn't make that phone call. I remember sitting there for what seemed like forever for him to call me back. Finally I called him back. It was all true. In a heartbeat you were gone. I felt like my heart had been ripped from my chest. I cried so hard. I called my mom who was on her way home from work, but had to stop at some strangers house because the weather had gotten so bad she couldn't drive the last couple of miles home. I couldn't believe that you were gone! I curled up in bed, holding a stuffed bear, bawling my eyes out. I got so mad that I threw the bear across my room. I just wanted to break something, I wanted to run away, I wanted to see you, I wanted to see for myself that you were gone. I finally fell asleep crying. I remember waking up later that night, feeling like someone had wrapped me up in their arms and finding the bear I had thrown earlier stuck in my arms. That's when I knew that you didn't completely leave me. That's when I knew that you would always be by my side, even when I couldn't see you or hear you.
The next days were a blur of anger and sadness and hurt. I remember my parents telling me I didn't have to go to school that Monday. My dad asking me to stay home. But I couldn't. I couldn't be at home, I had to be somewhere that you were with me. Going to school was the hardest thing for me. We shared a locker. All of your books and things were in my locker. I remember getting to school and standing in front of the locker thinking to myself "how the hell am I going to get through this day, how am I going to open this locker and see your things and not totally lose it". I was standing there thinking all these things when all of our friends came to me and wrapped me in their arms. I remember we had a moment of silence for you. The school had counselors set up that we could talk to. None of them made the pain any better. I only made it through a couple of periods before we decided to ditch school. We went to the park and climbed to the top of the rocky hill and sat there and talked about you. Relived all the good memories. We sat there for hours. Then we went back to school for the last period of the day. No one questioned me leaving, no one gave me a hard time for skipping out on classes, not even my mother who had come to the school to check on me. They all understood that I was not handling losing you well at all.
Then came the memorial service. God what an awful thing to have to go to for your 16 year old best friend. It was horrible seeing you laying in that casket. Knowing that would be the last time I ever laid eyes on you or touched you. You were so cold. I remember smiling through the tears thinking about how proud you would have been of the bruises you were sporting that no amount of make-up could completely cover. I remember talking to your parents and holding on to them. I will never forget when your mom looked at me and told me how much you loved me and that you had hoped that one day I would leave R and then you would have your chance. She told me you were in love with me and wanted to marry me if R didn't. It hurt so bad to hear those words. I lost it. I remember trying to climb into the casket with you. I remember R dragging me out of that god-forsaken funeral home and trying to calm me down.
I remember wanting to punch your girlfriend for being an inconsiderate, disgusting tramp.
Your parents let us put things in your casket with you. Things that made us think of you. I was so angry that so many people put things related to pot in there. I remember thinking how they really had no clue who you were. I remember thinking they only knew the party side of you, they didn't know the kind, loving, caring, awesome person you really were. I think you saved that side of you for only me to see.
It was hard for a long time. Time stops the tears and the pain, but it hasn't done anything to heal the hole in my heart that was your place.
When I found out I was pregnant with my first son, I wanted to name him after you. I was told no, that I had to let you go and that I didn't need that reminder for the rest of my life. It wouldn't have mattered. I have never forgotten you. I invited your mom to the baby shower, but she couldn't come. I invited them to my 1st wedding, but she told me she couldn't because it should be you up there. These thoughts still bring tears to my eyes.
I tried to stay close to your family, but after the wedding I was told I had to let you and them go. I had to stop holding on to the past. Even though you were both of our friends, losing you hurt me the most.
Every so often I would try to search for your mom, dad and brother online. I never had any luck finding them...until this year. I finally found your brother and parents on facebook. I am hoping they remember me and accept my friends requests, I am hoping its not too hard for them to reconnect with me. They may not want to, they may not want to reopen that old wound. I cried when I look at the pictures your dad has posted. There is one of you. The drawing someone did for them. God I can't believe it's been 20 years! You will always be that 16 year old boy in that drawing. You will never get old. I will always remember you that way, smiling and laughing, walking me to class.
I miss you so much Brandon. I don't know if you knew it or not, but I did love you. You were my best friend. My rock, my comfort, my support. I would have gladly said yes had you asked me out.
I saw a psychic a few months ago. She told me someone very close to me was watching over my kids. I had always assumed it was my grandfather. Then she told me it was a young man. I knew in a heartbeat it was you. She made me bawl, telling me things about us that only we knew. She said you know I loved you and that you would always be around me and the kids. My Tristan reminds me of you. So sweet, loving and caring, but puts on the front of the funny guy around those who aren't close to him. He's goofy, and silly, and strong and smart....just like you were. He could pass for your kid just by the way he acts. I think a part of you was reborn in him.