I am still alive, y'all, but barely. I've been putting in long hours on the magazine, which, combined with the time I can't work on it because my parenting duties take precedence and thus are also work hours, means I have been working 15–18-hour days and only managing about 5 hours sleep a night somehow. It caught up with me on Friday and I was so tired I could barely stand up, so I've tried to catch up on sleep and get a little R&R this weekend (swimming, watching The Descendants and eating). I'm feeling better today so I'm hard at work, but then I get a Facebook message from a high school friend who wanted to let me know that my high school boyfriend was ill. The little bit of research I could do suggests that he has cancer and that things may not be going to well for him right now. A student of his, on one of those "rate my professor"-type sites, said that he told his class he was dying shortly before he left permanently.
It was such a typical teenage story, and someday, when I have time, I will write it all out, but suffice to say he was my first everything and I thought I loved him, and he thought he loved me, until he didn't anymore. But while he did, he was my adventure. Like me, he wasn't blessed with grace or good looks, but was smart and creative. I think of him every once in a while, and when I do it is always with that sweet and boundless affection that is as much for the kid I was then as for the kid he was. The kind that sort of floats out into the world with no place to land because he and I have no connection anymore. I haven't spoken to him since high school. I never friended him on Facebook, and now I am glad I didn't, because I would feel compelled to, like so many people have done in the last few days, post some weak message on his wall that he may never be able to read and that doesn't even remotely say what I really feel, which is this:
Tim, thank you for noticing me, for flirting with me, for sticking notes in my locker and and asking me to prom. Thank you for all the furtive things we did in ridiculous places. Thank you for giving me your poetry, all bound in your dad's shop. Thank you for breaking my heart, and helping me grow up just a little. I did love you, the way only a 15-year-old girl can, and I still love you now, the memory of you, the way a 42-year-old woman happy in herself and her life can. I wish you peace.