I think it was the day after you left, I looked through old photos, all the way back to the first day we met. It was in Las Vegas, and I turned to Baning and said, “She’s really nice. Like REALLY nice. I can’t not like her.” And you know me, I don’t like anybody. But I liked you, and we became fast friends. You loved music, and food, and your friends, and LIFE.
The next 5 years were a blur of what twenty-somethings do. Drunken nights, inappropriate laughs and aim conversations, crying over long distance relationships, heartaches and breakthroughs. The pains of looking for new jobs, quitting bad ones, leaving bad relationships, keeping good ones, moving, and turning 30. We were there for it all.
I remember the day you told us the news. I understood because I had told you the same not too long before, and you were there for me. I swallowed my tears through a three-way hand hold. It would all be alright. I would be there for you, too.
I came to visit and spend time when I could. The visits became more frequent when we knew time was running out. I wrote you, a week before you were gone. I sat in my room and wrote you things I couldn’t bear to say out loud, like, how life isn’t fair, and how angry I am. How you deserve so much more than anyone I know, and how much I love you. I told you I would trade a year of my life, so you could have another and I cried like a child, knowing I couldn’t do anything else but watch you go.
I held your hand each time I came over. We sat next to each other and listened to her sing, or watched TV, and talked shit. When you finally left, I held your hand then too. It was on a night we were all together, and I thank God and especially you, that we all had each other. You’ve never had to make us go through anything alone.
I’ve struggled with your reality for a long time. I have been confused as to why our similar struggle turned out to be drastically different. I still can’t make sense of it all.
You came to visit, through my cousin of all people. I feel slightly jealous, that she got to see you again – happy, smiling and vibrant. You held her hand and gave me a message. When she told me, I was in the kitchen cooking eggs for breakfast. I let them burn as the tears fell from my face, fast and hard.
Nailz Mare, I miss you.
As I prepare to celebrate your life with the people who love you, I remember you are happy. I hear you through my cousin’s voice, telling me to not be sad or confused. “She’s so happy,” she said. “She loves you.”
I love you too, Gail.