Four years ago from right now, I was at a bar in a small town in wine country, California. I was flirting with a bartender and annoyed we had to leave. I was cuddling up with my best friend in town, having to get up early for a farmers market the next morning; a Saturday.
Four years ago from right now, I fell asleep never in my life having considered the idea of one being “whole” beyond a very desperately romantic way. Four years ago I thought I had an idea of what grief meant.
The next morning the world was different. My parents had rang the house where I lived with my aunt and uncle hours before I walked in, so they had been waiting for me to call back. When I did I can only imagine the despair and blackness they must have experienced having to repeat the conversation they had with my older sister shortly before.
“It’s really bad,” my father said when I asked what was going on. “OK…” I replied, but as I did, I felt my aunt step closer to me.
I remember his words and I remember hearing my mother’s whimper in the background. The best way to describe what I remember next is NO. The entirety of negation pushing through me towards the words that came through the phone in my father’s voice.
“Brendan was killed last night.”
As I fell to the ground, all I remember was NO.
Eventually, I stood up. At some point after that, much further down the road, every breathe didn’t ache with sadness. Time surprises and confuses by continuing to move. Lives continue. Eventually, I remembered happiness and, perhaps, enjoyed it’s sweetness even more because I had seen the other side.
Four years. Four years that feels like it should feel like longer, but it is yesterday; it is now.