Letter 12
Where I Was, Where I Am Now

Life is funny.

(You gotta admit, that sentence up there was kinda funny too).

But really, life is funny.

It's funny how much a person can change. Within the blink of an eye.

It's also funny how, five months later, I'm still using that same sentence: "within the blink of an eye".

But it's a little morbid and creepy how true that is. It's scary how much a person can change just like that.

There was a time once when I thought that hanging myself to death was the answer to all my problems.

There was a time once when I thought that I could never go past that one incident, that one event that changed my life forever.

It was life-changing.

Your death.

In so many ways I can't even begin to explain.

But I've crossed that path. I'm on the other side now, still looking back at those who aren't able to cross.

Still feeling sad for them. Because they should move to the other side.

Not because "it's about time", but simply because there's no going back.

I could write you twenty letters a day, every day until the day I die.

But the truth is, you are not going to answer me.

There was a time when I thought you would.

There was a time when I would be looking at my reflection on this laptop screen and I couldn't recognize what I was seeing anymore.

And I quote, from one of my previous letters, I'm staring at the computer screen and I can see my reflection. The big gray circles under my eyes. The messed up hair. The shirtless chest. The weary pupils.

It's funny, because now I'm doing the same thing.

I'm staring at my computer screen and I can see my reflection.

But what I see now is something extraordinarily different.

I see a man now. Someone with values, with principles, with respect.

Yes, that's right. I am a man now—and I wish you were here to see that I've turned out into this big grown-up that I am right now.

I know that I'm "healed" now because I can say that I'm a man now without even cringing—or feeling remotely "cocky" for saying it.

There was a time—five months ago—where I would let one person get to me, and yes by that I mean my father. I remember the countless times I wrote to you about our problems after you died and the countless times I nagged to you about them before.

...EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT NOW...

I still have issues with him and I don't think we will ever stop having issues. But I don't let him get to me anymore. He is what he is and I have to accept that.

There was a time when I couldn't get into my car because it saddened me—remembering that you used to sit next to me.

I can easily turn on the engine now.

And instead of being "saddened", I smile the biggest god-damn smile anyone's ever seen.

Because I remember you sitting next to me.

And all I feel when I remember you now is happy. I am honored to having known you.

And I am honored that you ever considered me your friend. Honored.

There was a time—five months ago—when I would be remembering some of the bad memories that you and I shared and I would let those memories affect me terribly.

I still remember some of those memories—but instead of getting mad, I smile because I know that we got through them despite.

And the fights, the argument, the disagreements that we didn't get over ... I still smile when I remember those too. Because I know that you loved me despite those arguments.

And I loved you too.

There was a time—five months ago—when I would cry every night to sleep.

And there was a time when I wouldn't sleep because I was crying.

Yes, I still cry sometimes. Perhaps it's not as often as I used to. But the pain is not gone. The pain is never gone. It's just better; that's all.

But the way I cry now is different.

There are no tears.

Instead, there's a river crying inside of me, because now I realize that there is no need to show those tears. Missing someone is not about telling the whole world that you miss them. And that is a freakin' fact, buddy.

I cry a river inside of me every time I see your mother. And yes, I still see her. Every single day.

I could lie and say that she's fine now, that she's moved on. But you don't move on from something inhumane such as your death. You simply don't move on from that. Not ever. And time, although relevant and curable sometimes...in this case, I don't think it matters as much.

But she is better than the way she was five months ago.

She's not sleeping on your bed anymore. Maybe that's one good thing.

That reminds me of something happened about seven weeks ago.

I was hanging out in your living room, just me and your mom and your sisters and two of your out-of-town cousins. And it was late and your sisters convinced me to sleep over.

It was the first time to sleep at your house after...

I can't say that didn't hurt. It did. So much.

Because they told me to sleep on your bed. But I couldn't. I just stared at them and told them I'm more comfortable on the couch, honestly.

They knew I was lying, anyway. But it didn't matter. It still ached a whole lot.

But it's funny, because the kind of "pain" now is different than it was five months ago.

It hurts a whole lot—but the difference is that I can still breathe despite the pain. I know that I can survive despite the anger, the hurt, the soreness.

I saw Amy once during the whole summer. She looked like crap. We sat and talked for about an hour and she told me that she went into depression for about three months. I felt so sad for her because she honestly went through so much. You dying on her and then having abortion and then failing her SATs and her Pre-SATs.

But I called her again a couple of weeks back and she's doing better. I think she got into community college. Not bad.

This is really weird, because this feels like the last episode of a long-time running TV show where, in the end, the narrator tells how all the characters lived happily ever after.

It's true. The characters of this show are living. And they are happy. And I am not ashamed to admit that.

I started my freshman year of college, and it's not bad. Well, everything is "not-bad" when compared to high-school. Seriously, high-school just sucks so bad.

But you wouldn't know, would you?

I still think to myself sometimes, "God, I wish our plan had worked. You and I in the dorms, living the college-life".

But then I get faced with some big problem or fight with someone and I think, "You are better off."

No, I'm not saying that to indirectly reveal that I'm depressed or suicidal or anything. On the contrary, I am happy. But it's a different kind of happy.

So, about two months ago, I decided to publish these letters to this website that I told you about a long time ago. Fiction-press or something (wink-wink to all the readers).

The intention of my "publishing" was not to gain readers or reviewers. I honestly (and sorry if you take this the wrong way, readers) could not care any less about the reviews that I got.

The whole intention was to let people know the message that I already pointed out in the letter I last wrote five months ago ("The Last One").

Just scroll down to somewhere near the end and read the bolded parts. That was the intention of my "publishing".

It's weird, because I got a Personal Message (PM) a few weeks back from one of my readers (well, I got a bunch of those) but this one specific PM got to me.

She (and yes, I am assuming it is a 'she') wrote to me about her best friend dying back so many years ago. And apparently I made her remember something about that best friend. The time that she remembered her birthday. And how that one tiny event makes a difference.

That was another intention of my "publishing".

And then I got another PM from another reviewer—and that one affected me even more. Because that one wanted me to feel better. To move on. To "not replace you".

And when I was replying to that PM, I was feeling all different kinds of things. Angst. Annoyance. And so many more.

Maybe my reply came off a bit 'mean'—it was something like "I don't want to forget about him; I'm not ready; I still miss him".

It's weird, and crazy, what people do to you when they hear that you're going through a tragedy. And that's what people did to me here.

People I don't even know. People who don't even know me.

But somehow, somewhere, they know they've all been through that same pain, that ache, that killer feeling—losing someone you love.

It's crazy how nice these people are. No, maybe not a single one of them understands (or ever understood) the exact same feeling I was going through when I wrote those letters months back—but heck, they got pretty close.

I do feel cocky and superficial when I say things like that. "No one understands—or ever will—what it felt like to lose you like that."

But seriously, no one gets the kind of relationship we had. And the kind that we'll have again—the next time we meet.

HAHA—I just remembered something else. Another PM I received from a loyal reader and reviewer.

It was very simple, and honest. I can't exactly recall the exact content of that message but I remember that my reply revealed that the events of this story are true—and apparently the reader didn't know that. I felt a bit sad, just revealing it like that. And the reader was shocked—"You mean this actually happened to you?"

I gotta admit, that did make me smile though.

Something I was ashamed to do five months ago.

Something I do with honor now—and not just when I remember you.

And then when I published that letter about Randy committing suicide, I still cannot get that review off my mind. Something just clicked...

Maybe I was supposed to feel better, that my writing was affecting these people—but that one review really got to me. Because apparently, I either "pissed off" or reminded someone else about a great tragedy that I'm guessing they hoped was buried a long time ago.

I don't want to do that. To remind people about sad things and tragic events and upsetting incidents.

What I want from the people is to tell the ones they love that they love them.

It's getting annoying, isn't it?

Lol.

I feel like my style of writing has changed drastically in the past five months. Yes, yes, I still write extremely short paragraphs with random bolded and italicized words sometimes (and that one was purposely done just now), but I feel like I've changed a lot.

Like, just now, I'm smiling like an idiot. Just like that. For no reason at all. Seriously, what a creep.

Your oldest sister is dating. That's good. He seems like a nice guy. You would like him. Nah, you wouldn't. Because no one is good enough for my sisters—right? Gosh, I can see you saying that.

I miss your voice, man.

I heard it, the other day, in college. Your voice.

Of course, it wasn't your actual voice, but I swear to God I heard something like it. At first, I freaked out. Then I smiled.

So I can't stop writing. Maybe that's annoying for some of those out there who were expecting a short letter. After all, it is the last one.

But this one isn't for them anyway. It's still for you.

They can have so many other stuff to read. You can have this.

So, buddy, are you ready?

'Cause I'm about to end this one.

And it will be the last time you'll hear for me.

'Cause the next time... Oh, the next time gonna's be more fun. It's gonna be live from up there.

Ready or not, here it comes. The big ending.

Suddenly, I realize that I am ready. To end this.

Because somehow, I don't feel like it's the end. You will never stop being part of my life—the biggest part of all.

At my wedding, you were supposed to be the best man.

Well, guess who's gonna be the best man now? Your younger sister.

Yes, that's right. And I don't care what people think of that.

...

It's not that hard to breathe anymore. It's getting better.

Don't you love the title of this letter by the way? Where I Was, Where I Am Now. How the hell do I think of these things? Well, first, the title was supposed to be It's Getting Easier To Breathe (get it?) but then I thought that was too harsh.

And now I'm crying again.

I wish I hadn't mentioned the whole "wedding" thing. That seems to be the breaking point for me. Because I had a certain image in my mind. About the wedding.

And now I've stopped crying.

See? It's shorter now—the time it takes for me to "get over things".

Why is that?

Because I've survived something that's worse than all this little stuff.

And what is that?

Not telling you "I love you" more often.

Yes, I'm back to that, people. Sorry.

I'm thinking of the last few words that I want to say. Thinking what could be more appropriate—more suitable—than the three words I want to say.

I LOVE YOU.

I MISS YOU.

I'LL SEE YOU.

And then I remember two more words I've been meaning to say for a long time.

Two words I don't think I ever mentioned five months ago.

Two words that mean the world to me.

Two words that define my awesome-ly awesome friendship with you.

Here they come.

... ... ...

Thank you.