May 10. It’s been a day of significance almost my entire life, although now its significance has shifted. While for 16 years it was an exciting anniversary of my brother’s birth, the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th occurrences of this date… they just mean heartache and sorrow, because of a shift from “Happy 19th birthday!” to “He would be turning 20 today.”
Of course, life goes on. Over the past three years, I have had midterms on his death-date and finals on his birthday–but not this year. This year I escaped the dreaded midterm and his birthday is on Saturday. All I have to deal with now is me–as if that wasn’t hard enough–and anything else my personal life throws at me.
Like, for example, the text message I received at a quarter to ten this morning: You know I’m still in love with you.
I can tell you right now that this text didn’t come from my boyfriend, who is currently softly snoring and has been for hours. It came from a friend I met last year via English class. I won’t get into it all, because it’s far too much to recount and it’s excessively complicated. But when we got to be friends, he developed feelings, which unfortunately grew the longer we knew each other. I was, however, in a relationship most of the time we knew each other–although there were two of them. He graduated that spring and moved back home, which is several states away from North Dakota, and then in June he decided to finally come clean about his feelings. By the time he told me he wanted to be my boyfriend, I had already told Kirk that I would be his girlfriend, and chaos ensued. I won’t go into it, but he made me so furious that I was almost content to never speak to him again. Over the next several months, I rarely heard from him, and if I did, the “conversation” was pathetic/short-lived/whatever. And then in November, he got hit by a drunk driver and spent the next four or five months in the hospital struggling to stay alive. Over those four months, his ex-girlfriend (they broke up while he was in the hospital) pestered the ever-living shit out of me about how my relationship was going to fail because it wasn’t with him and blah blah blah blah blah. Generally, her goal was to make me feel as shitty as possible. Like she thought she could guilt trip me out of my relationship and into a new one or something.
Obviously I feel bad that this guy has feelings for me that I can’t reciprocate. I’ve been there–repeatedly–and it sucks every time. Every time. So when I got his text message this morning, the only thing I could reply is “I’m sorry.” There’s nothing else for me to say. He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with me, and it’s not my fault that he did. I will take the blame for my own naivete. That I will own. I have to–I’ve been looking back and realizing that I did a lot of things out of straight naivete that I really probably shouldn’t have done. Said things that, in retrospect, I definitely shouldn’t have said. Because I never realized that they meant the things that other people assumed they meant.
10 May is never a good day for me anymore. I try to treat it just like any other day, but a day with real significance doesn’t just fade out.