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One Last Gift (Chapter Two)

I don’t usually run, unless it is sports with the guys, but lately I’ve been interested in taking up running. I have been since she passed. She always loved running; it was her passion. Maybe this is my way of remembering her in some way. When I heard of Amy’s passing from her best friend Lauren, I froze. I couldn’t believe it. Yes, it was quite some time since we’ve seen each other, but our relationship was always strong. The one where yes it sucked not seeing each other often, but we could go away for months and come back and it would be as if we saw each other only yesterday. Of course, I’m talking about how we were after the break up. At times, I wonder if any of this would have happened had I came forward and told her I indeed wanted a serious relationship.

It came as a shock to me when she wanted to break up, but at the same time I wasn’t too surprised. I guess I’m used to it after so many past dating ventures that failed before. It’s common for outsiders to think we have yet another player in this world but, to those who know me well, that’s far from the truth. See growing up, I never knew what a happy, healthy relationship was. From family to friends’ parents, all I saw was hardships and pain. Think about how that can affect someone. . . and yet I’m still good. It wouldn’t be until my college years can I actually say I saw a more positive example of relationships; besides cheesy romance movies. And when you make an internal promise to yourself to never make the same mistakes from your family’s past, it can alter many things; like relationships. So rather than bounce around from relationship to relationship, like some of my friends, I take my time getting to know someone; maybe a little too slow I’ll admit.

In college, I used that time to see what exactly I was looking for. I learned from others in relationships the do’s and don’ts, as well as a few wisdom discussions to those who’ve been in them for many years. If I ever was going to be in a relationship, I needed to do my homework before just jumping right in after the upbringing I had. I had to undo all of that, and ensure I was in a good state. Not many people make the time for themselves, when it’s perhaps the best thing one can do. It is very hard to get it right first go-around, but perhaps subconsciously I told myself I will when I get into a committed relationship. And here I am today. . . struggling to commit. When I met Amy, I was by myself in class early as usual. This was second semester, and when she walked in I felt I recognized her from last fall. She sat in the front of the auditorium, while I was in the back.

She sat next to me, and we just connected; although I was actually saving that seat for a friend. It’s very rare that I connected with someone in general. Sure, I get along with almost anybody, but to truly feel like someone gets you and relates on many things one has been through in life. . . How often does one find that? For me not often so, even though we were friends initially, I was there for her as best as possible. Soon the subtle flirtations, glances, and verbal exchanges led to us try our hands at dating. All our classmate friends around us sensed we liked each other before we began our courtship, though they all pestered me to make the initial move. It was honestly some of the best times I have ever had with someone.

I’ll never forget that time I won her a stuffed polar bear at the beer festival on that cold night, and riding the ferris wheel that nearly broke down as we were at the top. Or the little moments like seeing scary movies with her, and she would put her head down and cover her eyes in fear. It was so cute. Do I regret taking too long? Of course I do, and my friends have been trying their best right now to be there for me. Even if you take away the dating part of our lives, I still loved her. After the dating perhaps I was in love with her, but by the time I was searching within my soul on that she decided to step away. Just when I felt I was finally ready to do what I wanted to do for so long, she left and it hurt me badly. We never really addressed it after, because I accepted a job two hours away and she took a few trips and spent more time with her girlfriends. One of the worst things for me is never getting closure on something, and I certainly went through a period of anger and depression.

I guess I’ll never get that closure now. Amy, if only you could’ve given me just a little more time! I’ve been there for her mother these past few months; she always hoped Amy and I would’ve worked out. I’ve only been on one date since her passing, and that was thanks to a friend trying to fix me up thinking it would help me move on. Everyone moves on at their own pace. I know one day I will find another, that’s the bittersweet thing about life and love: if one door closes, there is always another that opens. I don’t know, I guess there’s some underlying guilt still left. If I had just said something sooner. If I had just gotten over my fear once and for all. Maybe that’s why I run and work out more often now; it’s my way of harming myself safely. I take it out on myself for everything from my past and to this day, though I know she wouldn’t like that reason. She brought out the best in me, and I did the same to her. And as I look at our one, and only, photo I have left of us, I swear it feels like she is watching me. Like I’m not alone right now in this apartment. Maybe it’s just me going crazy. Anyways, this photo I will someday put in the box as well, but for now our co-birthday party moment will be my favorite memory I’ll hold on to. We were only one day apart from each other.

Well Chase, you’re back in the city you grew up most of your life in. Three weeks into your new job, and getting to know the coworkers. Reconnecting with old friends, and revisiting family. In the end, we all end up back together. Those words of wisdom never rang more true. And so, I have finished my run and it’s time to get ready for tonight. The coworkers want to go out for drinks, and they invited me! I guess I’m starting to fit in nicely at the office. Amy, I hope you’re in a good place now. I miss you, and I’m trying my best to live my life. It would be great though if I could just hear from you one last time. . . Someway. Somehow. And as I look at my phone, seeing the guys texted me the address to the place we’re meeting for this evening, the feeling like I was not alone went away. All in my mind, Chase. I need to get ready for tonight. . .

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