No new text messages. Figures. After all this, after everything he's put me through, he can't even have the decency to answer a simple text message. "I miss you. I love you." That was all it said. And it's been two hours since I sent it to him, two hours since I've come outside, two hours I've been sitting on my front lawn, two hours I've been thinking about what my life means. And damn, that isn't even all that much time. Maybe Aidan was right about me. Maybe I'm selfish...maybe all I cared about was my own happiness. Maybe I didn't even look to see about anyone else, maybe I was immature. Maybe he was right that he was all I needed to make me happy, he was my dream. Maybe he spoke the truth when he said that I used him as a crutch, maybe he spoke the truth when he told me I had to figure things out. Maybe he was right when he said I could do it alone, because I could. But that was where I drew the line, because, hey, Aidan doesn't know everything about the world, and suddenly, I feel a whole lot smarter than I did when I moved to this house and met the boy that changed my life. I feel like he was wrong about some things. He was wrong about him. He was wrong about him needing me. I admit that I need him, and I'm not trying to disprove what I knew he already proved: I can stand on my own. That doesn't change the fact that I still need him to be happy.
How could I ever be as happy again with another person? It doesn't happen. First love, that's true love, and you don't forget. Not when you're sixteen, and not when you're sixty. Even if I got older, married someone perfect, I'd still be thinking about him when I died, because this all just hasn't closed for me, and I know it hasn't closed for him. I don't even know where he is right now, but I know where he's going. And I can't believe he would do that to himself, actually.
I sat there with the address of where Aidan's parents told me he was going and laughed. What would I do? Send a postcard? Look him up on google and give him a phone call? He wasn't answering my text messages, he obviously didn't want to talk to me. Whatever.
I lay down on the grass and opened my cell phone again, not looking for text messages, but scrolling through my contacts before I found the person I was looking for. Over time my contact list had grown, but one number always stayed the same: Father. Never dad, not even Robert, which I called him to his face a lot, but just Father. It was the only name I found that suited him. And the way I feel about Aidan, when it comes down to is, it's just the same way I feel about my father. I feel like we're not finished because I haven't closed anything. I haven't said what I needed to say, and I haven't told them at all how I feel. I know what they think, I know what they feel, but they don't know how I feel. And that's another thing Aidan was wrong on, because maybe I've been selfish, but so has he. He wanted me, he got me, and all that he needed was a kiss on his couch, and that was it. That was the end, I was his, forever.
I pressed the send button on my cell phone and put the phone to my ear. It rang several times, and the thing was, I didn't even expect him to pick up. Honestly, I didn't want him to. I just wanted to talk, and I just wanted no interruptions because this time, he was going to listen to me, and he was going to shut up and just listen. I didn't care if he erased this message without listening, that didn't matter. All I wanted was to just talk. And even if he never heard it, it doesn't matter, because it's just something I have to do. So the answering machine picked up, and then it beeped, and I opened my mouth and spoke.
"All my life, dad, I wanted you to notice me. First, I wanted to make you proud. I wanted to be the son you could call 'Champ' and I wanted to be the son you'd take to little league practice and love so much, I'd just be your son, and you'd be my dad and we'd throw around baseballs in the backyard, and maybe have a cookout, or something. I needed you to accept me, and I was too young to know that you should have just accepted me anyway. I was too young to understand that what you were doing to me was unhealthy and abusive. And when I got older, I don't even think I realized it then, either. I simply thought that all you wanted, that wasn't what I wanted, and you hated me, so I just hated you right back! And it's...you know it's funny because I just pretended to hate you! I told myself I hated you, I've told myself a hundre-no, no, a thousand times that I've hated you, but it's simply not true!"
I laughed at this, ironically and sarcastically. "I did everything you didn't want me to do, yes, of course, I didn't play baseball, and football, and basketball. I wasn't what or who you wanted me to be. I wasn't popular, or in, or even cool. I was invisible, dad, and I was fine with that. But you see, didn't you see? That was such a sham! Didn't you notice me, wearing those clothes to hide my scrawny figure? Didn't you notice me eating five protein bars a day? Didn't you ever notice me buying that book...what was it, Baseball for Dummies? I did all this because secretly, secretly I wanted to be just like you...no...I didn't even want that. I just wanted you to love me. That was all. I just wanted my father to love me, his son. I know, ridiculous, right? Because all fathers are supposed to love their sons...their kids. Kids aren't supposed to try to win over their parent's affections. The affections should already be there."
"But no, dad. You couldn't give me it, and I know why, I know why. It's because for all the anger you had in you...it was really fear. Fear and sadness. Fear because your father left you- for a man! Fear because you saw so much of your father in me, and all you'd ever known in your life was walking away. People had walked away so much in your life, and you saw all of that in me. But because of that...you walked away, dad! You walked away from me! You abandoned not just me, but Delilah, who saw you, who knew you were doing wrong and still loved you for it! You abandoned mom, who didn't know anything about parenting, who let Delilah just live at someone elses house for months because she was too afraid to do anything about it! You saw all this in your father and you wanted me to bend to your will, but instead, you just bent to his. You became just like your dad, the man you never wanted to be like. You became just like him because you were afraid, and you were angry. And not even at him. No, you were angry at yourself...for not being a good enough son to make your father want to stay. And there I was, growing up to become everything you told yourself you hated, so you turned a shoulder on me when all you were was afraid."
"You weren't here for the most turbulent, most terrifying, darkest, sweetest, happiest, scariest and most life-changing months of my life, and still you were the biggest roadblock in my way. Because I figured I just hated you, and I was so angry at you, and that anger stemmed off to Delilah, and to mom...and to so many other people. I thought I was angry at all of them, when really...I was like you. I was angry at myself. I realize that now. Not angry at anyone else but myself. Angry at myself for not being a good enough son to make you want to stay...and then angry at myself for wishing you had. I'm so angry that I wish you were, I'm so angry that I miss you, I hate that I still, still love you. And that anger is always going to be there, but at least I realize that now, so it can't control my life any longer. At least I know that I'm angry at myself for all this, because if I just continued to be angry at you, I'd get nowhere, because it would just make me angry at everyone else. I fixed all of this in my life now, dad, and I did it on my own, even though someone did help me a little."
"The thing is...I've realized that even though we do need people in our lives to make us happy, we can also make our own happiness. I've been so lonely, but also I've been so happy, and it's been my doing. It's because I've chosen to feel like that. I know, sometimes I couldn't just choose how I felt, but sometimes I could, and sometimes I made myself so lonely it almost killed me. But sometimes I've saw myself so happy it's almost blinded me. I'm afraid to be alone, and I know I am, but I know that I won't die if I am. I need people, and I love so many people, but I'm also just trying to figure how to be me now. I don't even know why I'm telling you all this, but I think I'm just talking now."
"Dad, the thing is, after everything...you did have a reason to be afraid. Because after all that I tried, all that I did, I ended up falling in love with someone that you would have hated. Because that someone, his name is Aidan. And yeah, he's a boy. With boy parts and everything. Delilah was with him for a little bit, and then she caught us together, and she freaked out, and that's why she lived with her friend for awhile. And it was just recently that I got the courage up to apologize to her, and to apologize to mom, and apologize to my girlfriend, who I hurt so badly, hurt so badly because I didn't know how to just stay."
"You learned how to walk away from your dad, and I learned how to walk away from mine. All our lives, that's what we've been doing. Walking away, abandoning. I've done my share of abandoning, too. Mom, Delilah, my girlfriend, Aidan even. I've alienated them all, but that was because it was all I ever knew. All I ever learned. You kept leaving and fearing me, and then you left altogther. And that's all you taught mom...to walk away in the face of danger, to just surrended. I just want you to know that I don't plan on ever teaching it to my children. I'm going to stay, and I'm going to be there, and I'm going to show them what a real family is. If it's with Aidan, then maybe it's not a 'conventional' family, whatever, I don't care anymore, technicalities don't matter with me. It doesn't even matter that Aidan's a boy because I love him anyway. And if it's not with Aidan, which I hope not, then it will be a regular family, but that doesn't mean I'm going to do the same thing. I'm the same person either way. I won't do what you did."
"I just wanted to tell you that. I wanted to tell you that I get it, dad, why you left, and why you're never coming back. And I hope you get that I miss you, and sometimes think I want you here, and love you, and am angry at myself for that, but I know deep in my heart that I never want to see you again. I don't hate you, I just told you that I loved you, but some people you gotta let go. You have to let go of them when the time is right, and the time is right, right now. So that's what I wanted to say. Goodbye, dad. I hope you have a nice life."
I hung up of the phone then, and it felt hot on my ear. I didn't even know if the answering machine was able to hold that entire message, and I didn't even care. So what if he never heard the whole thing, if at all. It made me feel so much better now that I just said it. It made me happier beyond belief, and feel the same lightness I felt when my mom and I made up yesterday...but this was a little different. This was working out a lifetime of anger, and feeling so much better now that I just got it off my chest. I felt a huge welling up in my throat and readied myself to cry. But instead of crying, I felt laughter. Laughter coming through me, out my nose and mouth, and even out my eyes, ears and fingertips as well. Every part of me was laughing and I felt like this little lost boy, finally figuring out what the world is all about.
Sometimes we feel scared, sometimes we feel happy, sometimes we feel lost, sometimes we feel found, sometimes we feel angry, sometimes we feel blissfull, sometimes we feel so alone, we think that there's no way we could ever, ever be normal again. It's all life. And I know my story isn't original, because it's the same feelings that six-point-two billion people have felt. So many times I've seen people who have been so upset, I've seen so many tears that I just want to wipe them all away, but I know I can't. I can't say that my story has a happy ending because my story is my life and it's not ending for any time soon. As long as I'm living, as long as I'm breathing, as long as I'm thinking, blinking, feeling, loving, laughing, crying, singing, dancing, screaming...as long as I'm doing anything, I'm still alive. I'm still alive until my very last heartbeat, and until my very last heartbeat, I plan to live my life as much as I can.
I've felt all alone, and now I realize that I've never had so many friends in my life. Everyone who has ever lived one second of life must know what I mean when I say that I'm alive. Looking around, looking at everything and thinking that this is my life, and maybe it's not exactly what I planned...okay so maybe it's nothing that I planned, but as long as I'm living, I still have time. And I know that everyone can think that. I know that no one is alone, because we're all looking at the same sky, we're all looking at the same moon, the same sun. We're all here, on this planet, and we're all human, and we all have the same feelings. We know that clench in our heart, we know that squeeze in our stomach, we know that knot in our head, we feel it. The anger, the heartache, the happiness. There's nothing that no one hasn't felt before, because we're all here together. No matter what we look like, or even who we love, we're all humans and we're all here together. Just feel it.
You're not alone. I'm here with you. That's all I can say. I'm no one, and yet I'm everyone. I'm here, and I'm with you. And I love you more than you'll ever know, and it doesn't even matter that you don't know me, and I don't know you. Because I still love you, and I still want you to know that I've felt everything you've felt and as long as there's someone that has felt anything, you'll never, ever, be alone.
I sat up, and looked at my parked car in the driveway...my dad's actually. It was funny how the last thing from him is the one thing I truly am thankful for, so I guess even he was useful in the end. Just kidding, of course. I looked over at the backpack that sat beside me and then I looked back at my phone. And then, it did a strange thing. A strange and kind of miraculous thing. It vibrated. And I flipped it open.
One new text message. I clicked the open button and looked at the message staring down at me. I smiled, this time, with the beginnings to tears in my eyes.
I picked myself off the ground, took up my backpack with everything that was important to me in it and headed to the car. I got inside, turned it on, backed out of my driveway and drove down the road, not knowing how I was going to get myself to where I was going. Just driving on blind faith, I guess, after Aidan.
"I miss you too. I love you too."