7 Threnodies – 4

When you died, I kind of fell apart. I couldn’t stand to feel your absence, so I did everything I could to not feel. I drank, and I got high… I got wasted at every opportunity; I also chased women for company, for sex, to feel… anything, Anything but what I was actually feeling underneath.

And I was so alone. Even constantly in company, constantly laughing, constantly drinking, dancing, getting laid… none of it mattered. I was alone, you were gone, life was torture. And I could not face it.

And every night I would meet somebody new, and I would smile at her, and I would lie to her, and half of the time, I ended up getting what I was after. I was a horrible person. A lying, selfish, user. In every sense of the word.

But emptiness only begets emptiness; dishonor breeds dishonor. I got lied to every bit as much as I lied. I got used and eventually, I got discarded. By the friends I was partying with who were using me for my money and because they recognized that my heart wasn’t really in it.

So what does all this mean now, 35 years later? Nobody lives near here who knew me in those days, I can shelve it and forget it. But I know it’s still there. I know that, faced with great grief, I collapsed. Now I have everything to live for: I have love, and family, and people who count on me at work and elsewhere. But, what if the next time I have to face great grief, the same thing happens?

And I still miss you, every day: you wouldn’t recognize me now, I’m so old and fat. You come to me sometimes, in my dreams, but you never speak. You look the same as you did all those years ago with your clear eyes burning through me.

I know I disappointed you. I know you expected better of me. I’ve spent the last 30 years, or most of it, trying to make up for that.

But the truth is, I could never be the man you thought I could be. At least, I never have been. I just couldn’t do it without you.

And I still miss you.

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