Fragments, Pieced Together.There are several days that stand out in my mind as being particularly memorable. Some are days, while others are fragments: memories, words spoken, hours and sometimes only minutes woven together. They've come together in my mind to paint a portrait that fluctuates between feeling nostalgic, hopeful, sad and grateful, boxed in a bittersweet package.
The first memory that comes to mind is from my birthday in 2011. I spent the entire day and night with a guy who I was really falling hard for at the time. This was before things turned sour between us. Before the arguments, the mind games and the immature nonsense. Before we didn't see each other for a full year and stopped talking completely. This one day was in the middle of our relationship and it was wonderful. We met up in the early afternoon and he surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers and a love letter filled with anticipation for the future - our future. We spent the afternoon ice skating, which is exactly what I had wanted to do because I hadn't ice skated since I was a kid. After that, we journeyed to a dimly-lit lounge with big soft couches circling a warm, crackling fire place. We had drinks and dinner and cuddled and spoke softly for hours. It was exactly the kind of birthday I had dreamed of having for years. Finally, that dream had come true.
A collection of snippets come to mind from my relationship before that. I was with a guy in an on-and-off relationship for two years after knowing him for almost five years. He was my first love. Even through the bad times and the argument that ultimately led to our end, the memories that stand out in my mind are the ones of us going for late-night drives, cuddling by the pier at sunset and sharing an affection that I've never experienced with anyone before or since him. Sometimes I wonder if our relationship happened during a time when I was too young to know how to be in a relationship (I was only in my late teens), but then I remember that we all get our start somewhere. Still to this day, though, I smile fondly and try not to get too nostalgic over the long summer days and warm winter nights we spent lovingly in each other's arms.
And then there's you, dad. It seems like every snippet of time we spent together is a bittersweet memory because those times have been few and far between. When I was a child and I used to visit you and your wife on the weekends I would always get upset when I had to go home. That sadness and the longing I had for you to be a regular part of my life is what stands out to the me the most. The weight of your absence has hung heavily in my heart for as long as I can remember. It's a sadness and an emptiness that's become instantly recognizable and impossible to supress. I don't know if I'll ever stop feeling the hollowness in my heart from your absence. It's become just as palpable as your presence used to be. Through the difficult periods at home with my mother to my incredible lack of self-esteem to the abuse I've endured in relationships, I've thought of you and wished you were here.
Nana, all I can bear to write at this point (so I don't stain my keyboard with tears) is that I've loved you more fully and consistently than I've loved anyone in my entire life. After what happened last year, I thank every higher power that you've been here with me and with everyone else who loves you since then. I pray to that higher power that you'll continue to be here, healthy and happy for many, many, many more years to come. Every moment with you is a gift.