2014-03-17 - 11:07 p.m.

I hate St. Patrick's Day. Hate it. It's become so ingrained in me that I hate St. Patrick's Day that it's automatically programmed in me to be as big a curmudgeon about it as I can be. I had almost forgotten why I hate this stupid day so much until somebody asked me the other day why I hate it so much. Well. Here.

Twenty two years ago on this day my boyfriend died. My wonderful, big blue eyed, sweet boyfriend. Died. On this day. Twenty two years ago.

I was a teenager. He was my first "real" boyfriend. I mean, we went on actual dates and held hands and he picked me up from school sometimes and we were girlfriend and boyfriend. He was really the only boy I officially dated in high school. He had come to our school in 1989 and I loved him at first sight. For real. I loved him. I was speechless around him. I was never able to speak to him at all. When he graduated in 1990 I was sitting in the bleachers and was directly within his line of vision. I smiled at him. He smiled back. The next day I got a message from one of his friends that he wanted my phone number. We went on dates. We held hands. He always held my hand. I remember that best about him. I was an asshole back then. I broke up with him once, I don't even remember why...but I remember that he joined the Marines right after that and I cried for days about it, I begged him to not go. We wrote to one another the entire time he was away (I still have every single letter he wrote me). Every once in a while he would be able to call. I remember an entire week that I basically did nothing but sit next to the phone waiting for him to call. When he came back from the Marines we had already decided via letter that we would be back together. That day that he was first home I got up early and waited and waited for him to show up at the door. I remember looking up and seeing him standing there looking so adult. The six months he had been away had changed him so drastically. He was big, muscular, mature and stood so straight. He took my breath away. We were together again. My family moved to Kalamazoo and it was hard to get back to Delton to see him a lot, he had a full time job then and things were getting difficult. So I would see him when I could. We still talked on the phone every day and the day he died I had called, I had called a lot that day. I left a few messages on his answering machine. His parents were in Florida at the time and I remember that it was nice to be able to call a lot and leave a bunch of messages without worrying about them. We were supposed to go out the next day and he hadn't answered the phone or called me back and I woke up furious the next morning. I tried to call a couple more times but nothing. So I left. I went shopping (as I was apt to do back then when I was's amazing how much people change) and was gone most of the day. When I got home my best friend was waiting for me. To tell me. That he was dead.

There are a lot of unanswered questions I have about the whole thing. Nobody ever talked to me about it. His parents never reached out to me. Even his best friend just disappeared. I spent the next months in a daze, I don't remember very much of anything. I remember that I went to prom not long after his death with another boy who really wanted to be my boyfriend and I was such a disaster of a person that I just crushed him. I trudged through that next year in a really bad way. It was a bad year. By the next year, the first anniversary of his death, I was working in the largest, most popular bar in Kalamazoo. The St. Patrick's Day party was huge. And I was wrecked and crying and upset and it seemed like the worst possible thing that so many people could be celebrating on the anniversary of his death. So every year after that I took the day off work. Back when I lived in Kalamazoo I would spend a quiet day by myself, I'd look through his pictures and read the letters and I would go to visit his grave. That's what I would do on this day. When we moved to Spain I had to stop that tradition, obviously. Although I do still visit his grave periodically when I visit Kzoo, it's been about ten years since I've been there on the anniversary of his death. It's been so long that the actual date of his death had become muted, I had forgotten it really, until somebody asked me the other day. Then it all came back to me.

I spent a quiet day today. Eric went to work and then went out with his friends and I declined to join. I didn't look at any pictures or read any letters...but I did think a lot about Michael today. Twenty two years goes by so fast.


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