So, I first wrote on here in 2013 talking about my budding depression.
I’ve had lifelong issues: chronic illnesses, abusive parents, bullying, many sexual assaults, death of family members, panic attacks, self-harm, suicide attempts.
I wrote in here when I was fourteen. I’m nineteen now, a sophomore at a good college. Decent GPA. I haven’t cut myself in years, I was seeing a therapist, on some helpful medication. I was better, never good, but better.
I had a bad breakup a few months prior. I was getting diagnosed with yet another a new chronic illness. I was estranged from my friend group because of said breakup, and my abandonment issues were making themselves very prominent again. Still better than before though.
I had just changed my major and my parents had flipped out on me, threatening to flush my tuition down the toilet, but that’s not the point. The point is that I was in all new classes, but one constant was there: Alex was in one of my classes. I knew him, but I didn’t know him very well yet. We were good friends with some of the same people and had interacted on many of numerous occasions. We called each other friends.
As a backstory, he had seen me very drunk and inebriated. I had a thumb war with him during this, and I knew him as one of my good friends roommate, my other good friends teammate in hockey, and part of my “college mom’s” hoard of freshmen that she adopted. Saturday nights freshman year were spent at her apartment, all of us playing drinking games and singing along to musicals like the theatre kids we are/were.
I was so anxious on the first day of classes this year that I stood up in my seat and shouted his name across the classroom when I saw him in the doorway, pleading with him to sit next to me because I was so afraid of being alone. We were in the far left corner of the room; I later found out that he only sat in the middle of the front row in all of his classes without fail, and that he must have really cared for me if he was willing to sit in the corner. He smiled and obliged happily, even though I just humiliated him and myself. My textbook hadn’t come in the mail yet, so he let me look over his shoulder at the activities we were going over and texted me pictures of the pages we needed. We began to study together almost every day.
One day, while studying with him and his friend group that I was becoming apart of, we started talking about relationships, or really Alex’s lack thereof. They all knew about my breakup and were once friends with my ex, so we didn’t talk about the absence of a relationship in my life. He had made a joking list of people who he liked, apparently, and I was hoping that I was on it but didn’t say so. He mentioned a classmate of ours, and I was disappointed, but I cheered him on and told him it would be cool if he invited her to our study sessions in order to get to know her better. I don’t know why I tried to be a wing-woman.
Hayden came to our study session the next day, and I found out that they also had another class together. I was sad about this, but I purposefully left early in order to give them alone time. The next day, Alex tells me that Hayden is the fifth person he’s liked to turn out to be gay. I laughed at this, but I was so very relieved.
The three of us studied together nearly every day, at odd hours of the night, texting in a mixture of English and German, the language class we had together. Alex and I always hung out more though, as Hayden had other study sessions in another class.
Alex let me talk about my problems, or would let me talk about something else if I felt like it. He would tell me I’m too hard on myself and tell me what he thought of me, excluding anything romantic. Even in his presence, with or without talking, I felt completely and utterly safe. I hadn’t known what this felt like before. I doubt I’ll ever feel this way again. When I was with him, I was home. I have eating issues because of medication, and he would encourage me to eat, make sure that I remembered to eat and drink water and get sleep. He would be concerned when I made bad decisions and try to help me out. We would tease each other, I would tell him to ‘fuck off’ and he would tell me that I needed to come up with another comeback. Ultimately, he took care of me.
The day of one of our study sessions, I was extremely high, not a prouder moment of mine, and I was flirting hardcore. Before Hayden had arrived, he told me that I was hilarious when I was stoned and couldn’t stop smiling at me. During this study session, and many others in which I wasn’t high, Hayden had to stop us from bickering because we would tease each other so much. I made fun of his spelling a lot, and he made fun of my shitty comebacks. I would steal his phone a lot, or make inappropriate jokes or drawings to catch his attention. He would smile at me a lot, shake his head, tease me, kill spiders for me.
He played ice hockey, and had invited me to go skating on an “open skate” with a few friends. He tried to pay for my skate rentals, but I wouldn’t let him. I kinda suck at skating, and I would fall a lot. He would rush over to me and pick me up, holding me in his warm, safe arms. I fell on purpose many a time just to be held again. We sent crappy selfie snapchats back and forth. He told me I was stuck with him for the rest of college at the very least.
I had to go home one weekend for the next round of doctors appointments, as I was getting diagnosed with a bad medical condition, and the last time I saw him was the night before a big test in a class we didn’t have together. I was freaking out, and he told me I was going to be fine. He listed qualities about me that he felt were good. He kept smiling at me and looking away, a habit he had developed a while ago, but one that I apparently was just noticing. I kept telling him to tell me what he was thinking, but he wouldn’t. He would just smile and look away more, and I would get aggravated and flustered because I thought I knew what it was about but I didn’t want to say anything and be wrong. Our friend David said “Mommy, Daddy, please stop fighting.” that night while we were bickering, and I went bright red. Then he had hockey practice and left.
The next day I saw him eating breakfast with a friend in the dining hall after my test, but they were finishing up and I didn’t get to talk to him before he left, and then I had to go home for the doctors appointments. When I was home, I went shopping with my mom and picked out a few dresses, one of which I had deemed “a date dress” and imagined wearing it on a date with Alex. When I got back to campus that night, we were snapchatting, and he sent me a memorable, shitty selfie. I wanted to go hang out with him, but I was tired. “I’ll see him tomorrow,” I said to myself. I made the silent decision that I was going to tell Alex how I feel, as I was pretty sure that he felt the same way and just wanted to kiss him and be in his arms already.
The next morning I put on one of the dresses I had picked out for Alex to see, imagining him seeing me in it. Imagining his smile. Imagining his warm eyes. I was in an off campus meeting for my work-study that day, but I kept thinking about him happily. Thinking about seeing him later. He was never out of my mind for long at all.
Then, that same day, my phone rang several times from several different people. I ignored it at first, but it kept getting worse.
“Something bad happened.”
“Please call me back.”
My name was repeated over and over again, begging me to call back.
“Alex A________ passed away last night.” Our friend told me over the phone, sobbing.
I told myself I wasn’t going to cry.
“Okay.” I was going to say before I broke off sobbing, running out of the building into the parking lot with no shoes on, stepping in rain puddles, almost falling into a koi pond. I remember every second. I remember feeling physical pain so bad that I couldn’t stand. A flood of texts asking me if I was okay came in.
Alex had a bad seizure, I found out.
He sat there and listened to me complain about my medical issues and other traumas when he had them the whole time too. He stayed silent about his problems the entire time, voluntarily taking mine on without batting an eye. He cared so much. Alex took care of me while struggling to take care of himself and never told me. Never let me help back.
And now he’s dead. The one person who stayed is dead. The one person who made me feel right, made me feel safe, is dead.
That week I found out from his parents that he liked me in a much more than friend way.
I didn’t know I loved him until he was dead. I knew I had liked him. I love him. He had admitted to me before that he thought no girl could ever like him, and he died thinking that. He died thinking that I didn’t like him, as I would awkwardly skirt around the subject of dating around him and laugh. He told me that was the usual reaction from girls. He said girls don’t like him.
He’s right. I don’t like him; I love him. I’m in love with him. I’ll never get to tell him. He’s dead and I can never get him back. We’ll never have a chance to be together. We’ll never see what could have been.
He had so much potential and hope. He had plans for a future. He worked hard every single day, fighting dyslexia in a high stress environment, learning languages and chemical structures. He struggled to be okay, but cheered everyone else up around him. He laughed and loved and loved living even though it was hard. He was the epitome of a good person. He was practically a saint, save for drinking sometimes, with his work ethic, going to bed on time every night, walking his friends home, asking everybody if they’re okay, going out of his way to make everyone feel included. He barely asked for anything, so much so that it hurts knowing that I’ve done about jack squat for him, especially compared to what he had done for me. I’ll never be able to forgive myself. He deserved to live. I wish I could take his place.