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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Talking to a Ghost

Unknowingly the day after you died, I sent you a text message wishing you luck on the LSAT.

I now realize that I was talking to a ghost.

This morning I woke up wanting to punch the universe in the face over and over and over again until it shouted back in submission, “Okay, okay! Enough! You can have him back!”

While I fight the urge to face the truth that this will never happen with anguish and uncertainty, I muster up the best in myself, tapping into that subterranean well that lies within all of us, and embrace it with the warmth and authenticity you approached your life with every day and remember you.

You.

My friend.

It hurts, but I slip loose the knots of the unthinkable and begin to remember you, though it’s a challenge because for me, you are still not gone.

And though you would be embarrassed to read this, you would never say.

Taking a page out of the book of jwc, I’ll do it anyway.

You always made me smile. Those remarkable blue eyes and snarky laugh. Your love of talking about Hesse, Vonnegut, and Salinger into the long hours of the night, ignoring my yawns and lazy responses. Your heartbreakingly honest confessions of a deep regret for past mistakes. The way you always gave my boyfriends unsavory nicknames and scoffed at my attempts to defend their honor. Your insatiable love of bucking tradition and blazing your own rebellious trail. The practical jokes. Your knack for passing out at the most inopportune moments. How you never forgot to ask about my parents, even across the distance of continents and the passing of months, years. Similarly, how time always managed to stand still for us until the next time we saw each other, picking up right where we left off, never missing a beat. A true rarity in friendships these days. I remember the impressive depths of your mind and staggering intelligence and how easy the sharing of profound thoughts was with you. I don't know if that type of comfortability came along simply with the sheer number of years I have known you (23 years to be exact), or if it was just always you. I think the latter. Because I like to think you served this purpose for many people. I was always Megs, not Megan, or Meg. You always called. “Clear your calendar” you would say, and nothing else. Leaving the details of your visits a mystery until I would hear your familiar voice on the other end of the phone telling me to “Save you a bar stool”. How you had this consistent lack of direction in life, but were always so unabashed about admitting it. It was endearing. And you were charming. Parents loved you. Teachers didn’t know what to do with you. You were silly and quick-witted; the biggest smartass I know. In friendships you were not fastidious, preferring to scatter your companionship out to every kind of person, but save the good stuff for a few. You fought wars and claimed conservatism, but you were a hippie at heart. You were a hero. And a patriot. I always hated arguing with you because you had this unbelievable knack for being right that only really, really gifted people possess. You were clever. You were authentic. You were an original. You were a good friend. You were my friend.

A few weeks before you passed, we spent one crazy night in Chicago together. Speeding through downtown streets, up until dawn, smoking cigarettes and laughing off old high school memories. We talked briefly about “over there”, but I know you preferred to speak less about the past and more about the future. I didn’t press you, but you said, “One day you’ll write it for me.”

You always supported my writing. So now I’m writing this for you.

Its unfair and I’m sad and angry and confused and I don’t know how I’m going to deal with knowing I will never see you again, but I will never forget you. I know that. And I will never let anyone else forget you. And by writing this, I honor the memory of you.

I will be kinder to strangers. Better to myself. More honest in my relationships. Stronger in my convictions. I will write more. And write better. I will do this moving forward because the only way I know how to honor you is to be a better me. And I’ll always be grateful when I wake up in the morning and know that that first smile that hides inside the pockets of each day belongs to you.

And tomorrow, when I throw my arms around the memory of you, I will never stop holding tight. And I promise you, I won’t weep for your death, but I will celebrate your life.

I will always, always love you.

Justin Wesley Cloe
August 2, 1980 – June 5, 201
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7 comments:

Alexia said...

This squeezed my heart. I'm sorry; he sounds AWESOME!

Pirates98 said...

Megan,
They always say there are no words...and yet now you seem to have found your voice. You seem to have a muse...even if he is, "a ghost." The world looks forward to what more you have to share with it. I'm sorry for the loss of your kin...because friend, at this point in time, doesn't seem to sum it up.
~Bambi

Herbie said...

Megan - this is so touching. So vivid. Justin is the nephew of my friend (Justin's Dad's sister) who is my best friend forever - the one that time stands still for me-I know that she would love to communicate with you if only to share an "I love him too" with you.
thanks for sharing this
Nancy

Anonymous said...

Shit, dude, you made me cry. Literally.

Hellafied said...

Herbie, please let your friend know she can email me anytime: megangates7@hotmail.com

Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

I found myself (unknowingly) crying while reading this. Beautiful and touching.

Jack k said...

Wow. I can not explain how i feel about this comment. It touched me so much i cried and cried. Justin was my cousin but was like my big brother, my illini buddy, and just someone to talk to about everything and anything.

You actually really know Justin i can tell because you explained his awesomeness. He was just so helpful in many ways and a glory to be around

I would like to meet whoever wrote this some day and just give her a huge hug and hold her for my brother, Justin.