I haven't posted for awhile because I've been busy as hell with work school and life. I have been writing though, I've been working on a paper for my College Writing I class. This is a paper I turned in last week and got....wait for it.... an A on! I put a lot into this paper, and am proud of it. So here it is!
I would love any feedback by the way! Enjoy!
I wear my memories everyday. They are scared onto my skin with ink and needles and physical pain. I wear it proudly because it’s a physical and outward symbol of who I am. The memories and loss of my close friend Matt have helped shape me into the person that I am and my outlook on life.
I met Matt when were about 17 in the dining room of a fast food restaurant. He was shy, sweet, and beautiful. Our high school courtship carried on into adult friendship and when he joined the Army and moved away, we began writing letters to each other. We could have called or emailed (and sometimes we did) but more often than not we wrote letters. People don’t write letters anymore, it’s just easier to email or text, but letters seem to be more personal and heartfelt. In those letters we got to know each other, and became close. I still have almost all of them, stashed in a handmade music box.
Matt had always been his own person but was a mix of the stereotypical macho guy and the emotional quiet kind. He was quiet, sensitive and had poetry published, but he was also funny, wild and sarcastic, and sometimes even brutally honest. We were alike in so many ways. I have so many memories of crazy nights that are blurred by to many drinks and not enough details.
One of the things I remember very vividly is a Valentine’s Day when he was deployed to Iraq he sent me a dozen pink tulips. He wasn’t my boyfriend, he was just my friend and he loved me enough to make sure I felt special that day. That was just who he
was, always supportive of me, listened to me whine and complain about guys, didn’t turn his back on me when I was foolish enough to fall in love with him a few times. (I mean who could blame me?) He told me the truth, even if I didn’t like it, and he didn’t pull any punches. I remember him as being perfect; the man to measure other men, but “memories are both indelible and unstable” (Ventura, 131), and no one is ever perfect.
I remember the day that everything changed for me. I spent the day around Lake Erie, with my fiancé at the time and his family. It was just getting dark and we decided we were going to make the three-hour drive home. We had stopped for gas when my cell phone rang, it was my friend Tamra, and it was odd that she was calling me because we didn’t talk on the phone often. I answered and she didn’t sound right, she was crying, and was trying to tell me something but couldn’t get the words out. She finally said, “Matt’s gone.” I can’t remember anything she said after that but I remember walking into the gas station bathroom and being sick. I was numb. It wasn’t real. Once I got the details of his death things became real, very real. He took his own life, no note, and no warning signs. We were all shocked and wanted answers that weren’t there. I remember the pain of knowing that he was gone, and thinking that there was nothing worse then what I felt right then, and then finding out he did this himself, made it worse. It scared me and worried me. We both had struggled with our inner demons, insecurities and fears. We had talked in length about them over the years. We were both sensitive and tended to hold on to pain. I let it out in dramatic fashion and he kept it to himself. It was hard for him to reach a breaking point I always thought.
It always seemed that he was so much stronger, so much more than other people. My only thought was that he was too filled up with his own pain and couldn’t stand it anymore and did the only thing he thought he could. He had spent four or so years in the active duty Army and never got sent over seas. Once he got out and joined the National Guard, it seemed like he went instantly. He wasn’t happy in the guard, he called it amateur hour because no one seemed care and the standards were low. He came home in the middle of his tour for two weeks and refused to talk about anything that was happening there. He wanted to focus on being home and having fun. He only spoke about it a few times to me, ranting about people’s lack of ability and desire to do well. I think that he kept it from me so I wouldn’t worry about him, because I always did. Sometimes I wonder if things that he saw and experienced over there are what sparked this in him. People who commit suicide just don’t do it on a whim, and Matt wasn’t the type of guy that did anything serious on a whim.
I had experienced death before, but not like this. This was different; this changed who I was and how I looked at life. I had lost someone who was a one of kind friend, to me and many others. Loosing him gave me a perspective I never knew before and the understanding that life is fleeting and we shouldn’t take it for granted. I was angry for a long time. I still am angry at him for putting all of this through such hell and mad at myself for not being able to help him. Enough time has passed that I can take all of the memories, good and bad, and turn them into something constructive. I look
at life differently now, try my best not to take opportunities and people for granted. I strive to tell the people I love, how much I love them and what they mean to me while I can and try to live my life without regrets. I sometimes wish I could call him up and ask his advice and perspective on so many things. Most of the time I’m almost sure I know what he would say; be honest with myself and I will know what’s best. Matt may be “gone from this earth, but not gone from my soul”(Burns, 126), I am reminded of him everyday, when I look down at my wrist and see his initials tattooed into my skin.
Burns, Melissa. “The Best Seat in the House” ,Dreams and Inward Journeys. Ed. Marjorie Ford & Jon Ford, Pearson, 2012, 126. Print.
Ventura, Michael. “The Peril of Memory”, Dreams and Inward Journeys. Ed. Marjorie Ford & Jon Ford, Pearson, 2012, 131. Print