I was sitting on the desk talking with my friend, Cathy, when he walked up to me. I was 14 years old. I wasn't a slim teenager but I was a buxom one. Michael walked up to me and asked me if I had seen the soccer game yesterday. I said, "Yes". He asked what I thought. Did I think they could have done better?
I remembered thinking. Why is he asking me these questions? Why is he talking to me? I'm 14 years old. He's 18 years old for goodness sakes. He's hot and I'm plain. I'm a plain Jane with teeth that need braces but I know I won't get them. I'm wearing a dumpy shirt and jeans. I'm nothing spectacular. He is. He could have any girl he wanted. At least that’s what I thought.
We continued talking. He asked if I wanted to go for a walk. WOW me go for a walk with him. What does he want? Will he kiss me? We went walking through the park. He reached for my hand and brought it to his lips. I was a goner. The second he touched my hand, my heart began to pound heavily. My brain went to mush.
Again the questions came, why is he talking to me? Why me of all people? From the day forward, we were inseparable. He was very patient with me. He was careful about not crossing lines. We were best friends. I could share anything I wanted with him. We talked about how the kids treated me in school. We talked about my studies. We talked about his work as a mechanic. We talked and talked and talked.
One day, he got really mad and he left. I didn't understand. When he came back, he apologized for being mad but now I wanted to know why. He said that he was older than me and sometimes it was simply so hard to wait for me to grow up. Honestly I had no clue what he was talking about. I was soon to find out though. He told me that he had always wanted me. That it was hard to just be friends. We decided to take our relationship to a deeper level. I was 16 now and we had to discuss it with my parents. He was 20. My parents weren't happy about it but they let us be.
How could I have known that moment that he touched my hands when I was 14 years old that my heart would be gone? That I would love him so much that I would give up all to take care of him? How was I supposed to even know that one day I would marry him?
I did marry him when I turned 18 years old on my sister’s birthday. We loved each other more than any other. We talked about everything and nothing. I learned so much about him. And then his illness took over. He lost his eyesight a month after we got married. He had to quit working. I had to go to work full time to support us. I did it with joy. I walked away from a four year scholarship to take care of the man that I loved.
He taught me that life was about living. He knew that he was living on borrowed time. I was so young I didn’t believe something could take him from me. He lost his kidneys to the disease shortly after losing his eyesight. For years I watched him suffer without telling anyone. Without showing how much it hurt to others. He would ask how another was and not mention how he was. I was the only one who knew how much pain he was in. He never hid anything from me. He told me that honesty was the most important trait to someone you love. He told me that he would never hide anything. And he told me that he wanted me to live a full and happy life after he died. The day he told me that I ran. I just took off running. I left him at home knowing he would be ok. I didn’t want to accept that he would leave me one day.
I miss him still.
Ok enough of that… remember he taught me to live my life to the fullest. What I’m going to ask you all is that you hug your loved one tight and love them. Cherish them.