"He" was my best friend at high school. My almost-but-not-quite-lover. He may have been the first man I ever fell in love with, although, who knows, it may just have been infatuation. I'd been mad for him, and he had loved me, "but not like that". Oh, he fancied me, kind of, but not enough.

We'd been friends for twenty years. After I went to University, we weren't 'sit in each others' pockets and see each other all the time' friends, but there were calls whenever anything important happened in our lives. We were there for the really big moments -- my graduation, my wedding, my daughter's baptism, the first time his band played in London to a real, paying audience -- those sort of moments. After I moved to New Zealand, we still shared those moments, but only by phone.

He was the only person in my life that my husband was really, achingly jealous of.

The last time he called me, about a year ago now, he greeted me with "On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?, and made me go right through the introduction to You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth before he told me who was calling. He was like that.

In May this year, the phone rang. It was his mother, calling from the other side of the world. He'd been in a stupid car accident, swerving to miss an escaped dog. He was in intensive care, on life support. Things looked bad. Four days later, the second call -- it was over.

The biggest moment of all, and I was 12,000 miles away.

I sent flowers, of course, and a card, but it wasn't enough.

So, when I went home this summer, I visited first his parents, and then his grave.

The first visit was hard. His parents had got old, suddenly. They were full of 'might-have-beens'. They were still searching for meaning in something meaningless, trying to find reasons for something that wasn't reasonable.

But it was the second visit that tore me apart. The final realisation that I would never see him again, never hear him laugh, never sing while he played keyboards, never hug him again.

On his eighteenth birthday, we had made a pact. If, after twenty years, we were both unmarried, then we would marry each other. We knew we could live happily together, if the 'perfect person' didn't arrive. Of course, we'd known for years it wasn't going to happen, but we were looking forward to the jokey phone call on the date we'd set.

Back then, in our eighteen-year-old invincibility, it had never crossed our minds for a moment that in twenty years one of us wouldn't be there.

I went to visit his grave, to say goodbye, but I couldn't say it. I want him back.

Demeter, although I'm still at that 18-year-old point, I know what it's like to have that "invincibility" crushed.

I had been with Rachel for six months when she died. She was a piano player. I was a drummer. We'd met at "The Governor's School For Excellence", a joke program that the state of Delaware runs every summer for kids going into their junior year of high school. Kids that show "immense promise" in their chosen field. Rachel was a phenomenal pianist.

At Governor's School we got really, really close. After that, we decided to stay together. Everything was great.

Then, October 18th, 1998, Rachel was hit by a girl in a blazer. Both Rachel and the other girl were driving home from school. The other girl simply didn't see the red light. Rachel was in the ICU for four days. Four days I sat there and ached. The first time I went in to see her, she was just out of surgery, and the sheets were soaked. Her whole body was bloody. They told me (apparently at the time, I don't remember. They told me again later), that her back, both legs, left arm, and neck were all broken. Her spleen had ruptured, and her intestines had had to be pulled out of her chest. She had a massive head trauma. It looked really bad. It was.

On October 21st, 1998, four days after the accident, Rachel was declared braindead. Her brain had swelled, and wasn't getting any oxygen. They pulled her from life support. That was the day before Homecoming. The next night, I was at the viewing, and the day after that, the funeral.

It wasn't till a year later I could go back to the grave. It was very strange. By that time I had been through the whole depression/suicidal tendencies/"I hate God" stage, and was pretty used to the idea. Or so I thought. Seeing a grave is like that. You think you've got control, and then it all comes flooding back.

In two days it will be two years since her death, and time for my annual visit. I'll let you all know how it goes.

"Long gone day, mmm, whoever said we wash away with the rain?" -Layne Staley



UPDATE- All is well. The visit went well. I was all alone, and it was actually very peaceful. I laid a rose and did all that stuff, and actually "talked" to her for a while, which I'm sure would've been very odd if anyone else had been there. As it was, it felt nice.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.