Because Of You

May 25, 2012
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It had been ten years, ten years since I last dreamt of him. In reality it had been 24 years since I last saw his gentle face, so young and full of love. I knew he loved me and I loved him, and secretly deep down in my denial I still did.

I sat down at The Grind, the local coffee shop, one sunny almost hot Saturday afternoon. Today is June 2nd, one day before June 3rd, Noah’s death. I order peppermint tea and stare down at my cup watching the clear water turn a muddy brown, and the steam carries the peppermint smell to my nose, clearing my sinuses. After 24 years I still can’t believe Noah is gone. Noah was the one. We had made plans for our future; he wanted to marry me. Thoughts of him clutter my mind. I didn’t really need tea, just an excuse to leave the house. I was too ashamed to let my husband and two daughters see me like this, see me thinking of him.

Senior year at McClellan High School seemed just like yesterday. I fall into a trance and suddenly I’m in my favorite pair of jeans from when I was young and with Noah, hand in hand. Graduation was June 9th, less than a week away. The excitement of ending the adolescent chapter of our lives consumes us and our friends. We are all 18, young, wild, and free with our whole lives ahead. This weekend was the Senior Soar, McClellan High’s unofficial senior bridge jump. Every year a group of seniors jump off Nalley Bridge into the river to represent leaving high school and “jumping” into our futures. I was far too scared to jump; heights weren’t my thing and neither was extremely cold water. I made an excuse to go graduation shopping instead, but Noah was not one to just watch; he would join our friends and jump. A part of me wished Noah wouldn’t jump, but I knew just like the wind I couldn’t stop him. I thought nothing of it because there was nothing I could do.

On the morning of June 3rd I had already left with my mother to the shopping center about an hour away. Upon arriving, I deliberately left my phone in the car. Noah was going to be too busy with the jump today to talk to me anyway. I spent the whole day carefree and enjoying every second I had with my mom; I wasn’t going to have much more personal time with her once I leave for college. We visited every single store in the mall to assure ourselves we would be making the best purchase and finding the best sale racks. Noah entered my mind a couple of times throughout the day, but I knew he was with our friends and that nothing bad was going to happen. A few hours later after finding the perfect graduation dress, we return to the car to head home. I check my phone, one voicemail. I listen to the voicemail, it is from Noah. His silky voice greets me and lets me know that he loves me and how he wishes I was there. I can hear the laughter of his friend, Kyle, in the background and the anticipation in Noah’s voice. Upon saying goodbye he tells me again that he loves me and will come see me that night. The voicemail ends. Little did I know those would be the last words he would ever say to me.

Traffic is backed up on Nalley Bridge, which I paid no attention to, until I saw the flashing of red and blue police and ambulance lights. My pulse races and my heart drops into my stomach. I jump out of the car and sprint towards the commotion. I arrive just in time to see the paramedics carry Noah’s body into the ambulance on a stretcher. All the strength in me can not keep tears from welling up in my eyes. My friend, Jessica, was there when it happened and she ran up to me. She explains to me that Kyle and two other guys had jumped before Noah, but he just jumped too close to the rocks. He had just floated to the surface, face down. They tried to revive him, but the impact on the rocks killed him. She kept repeating to me that she was sorry and after that my memory of that night goes black.

At his wake I saw him lying in his coffin, so handsome and still. He was dressed in the same tux he had taken me to prom in. My mind brought him to life again and I could feel his arms around me, twirling me around the dance floor in my full length satin gown. He whispered in my ear about how beautiful I looked in my prom dress and how he didn’t deserve such a gorgeous date; I remember I blushed at his words. I realize Noah can no longer talk. He lays there motionless with his eyes closed. I asked his family to please leave the room and that I needed a moment alone with him one last time. Instead of being inquisitive, like they would have upon asking such a request when Noah was alive, they nodded their heads and exited the room. I can’t recall exactly everything I said to him, but I do recall me promising that I was forever his and that fact was still inevitable today. My heart went with him into the damp ground and my lust life died along with the flowers on his grave.

My tea becomes cold as I go over that scene repeatedly in my mind, just like it has every day for the past 24 years. I am 42 now, no where near the young 18 year old I was when this unshakable event occurred, and yet it still haunted me like it had happened yesterday. I eventually was forced to move on, whether I liked it or not and I got married and settled down. I love my husband and children, but I am left to ponder the what-ifs in my mind. What if Noah didn’t die? Would we have gotten married? Would we have kids? I can honestly say that I believe we would. What we had was irreplaceable and everlasting. Guilt is my shadow, constantly reminding me of my husband’s love for me and my girl’s need for a committed mother. I regret my thoughts because I know it would kill my family if they knew, but I can’t stop thoughts of Noah from entering my mind because I insist on holding onto every memory we ever had. Noah is and was my only true love in this world and I couldn’t have him.

I check my watch. It is now 6p.m. and four hours have passed since I left home. My family will have to go without a home cooked meal for dinner tonight. The remorse I feel towards myself eats at my soul. I realize I spent four hours in my own fantasy land rather than being home and being a good wife and mother to my family. My family deserves better. They didn’t deserve the half-ass mother I had been to them all these years. I never realized how unhappy I was with the turn out of my life until this day, but I couldn’t ponder on that anymore; I was needed at home. I swiftly push in my chair, pay my tab, and return home with guilt following me every step of the way.





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