It's funny, but I always thought I would die before you.

I think every one expected it to be that way. I've never exactly lived the most healthy lifestyle, you know. The rivers of booze, the unending cigarettes, the scores of nameless people I've had sex with…None of that is really good for a person. I've looked death in the eye so many times. I've tempted the fates. I've gambled with my own life and come out victorious. I live life on the edge.

Yet you've gone before me.

No, you're not really gone. You've actually just run down the street to the store. But just because you're alive doesn't mean you're not dead.

Once I saw something in you; some sort of spark that drew me to you. When did the light in your eyes go out? What happened to your heart? I remember a phrase in Latin -- Ubi sunt. It means "where are they?" I've begun to ask myself…

Where did the man I love go? Where is the man who wanted me and only me? Where is the man who wanted me all to himself? Where did you go, that I can't find you any more? I know you're lost somewhere. Where is it that you're at? Where is the love, the laughter, that unique feeling of evermore? Where has it all gone?

I take a drag on my cigarette. You hate that I smoke, but you've never requested that I stop. I might, but only for you. Only if you asked. Lately, you've stopped asking. Lately, you've stopped asking me about anything. You don't seem concerned when I'm gone out until the early morning, you don't question the increasing amounts of alcohol I've been consuming, don't ask about my unusual silence.

Where is the man who was once concerned about my well-being?

What have you become? I saw this in you when we first met, but I thought we were past all of that. I thought you had moved on, let go of all the things which made you hate the world.

I crush the butt in an ashtray, reaching out with the other hand to caress the smooth wood of a picture frame. Your mirror image resides in there.

Cool.

Collected.

Hateful.

Deadly.

Yet so beautiful…

I had always thought this was a happy picture -you're actually smiling- but now that I'm looking closer, it's all there; the bitterness, the anger, the self-loathing…

But this isn't you and I know it. I once glimpsed the man you truly are, hidden under years of cynicism and despair. The man I know is kind, concerned, loving and -most of all- alive. He wants to live; to grow and change in himself. He wants to touch the sky only to know he can reach heights far higher than that. The man I know makes love with such passion and isn't afraid to cry about it afterwards.

The man I know isn't afraid to cry about anything.

I remember when I move in you. The noises you made were so passionate. The feel of our flesh together, to joining as one, the beautiful feel of you in my arms. But now…It's so mechanical.

Where is my lover?

I drag a hand through my tangled honey hair, then light another cigarette, the flame of my lighter making me think of you once more. There was a time when you burned with such fervor, but that seems to be the distant past. Where has the passionate man that I love gone?

I understand now…By loving you, I am killing myself slowly. I now comprehend the true meaning of the phrase "love's suicide." By loving you…

I turn the frame gently downward.

Where has he gone…?

I can't look at you any more.

I don't want to think of my own inevitable death.