You saw me running along the road, you watched as friends, strangers, everyone passed me by. You stopped. You started walking, told me to slow down, said there was no rush. You began telling me about this world I’d fallen into, you taught me how to survive it. When I was strong enough, big enough, you helped me get a faster mode of getting around. Then you rode with me.
When you couldn’t hang out, you still talked. All the time you would send me messages. Asking about my day, asking if I was ok. And when I asked the same you would always tell me, I’m good, nothing gets me down. You took me to new places in the world, taught me how to make it through, it never occurred to me that you were teaching me more than just our little world.
I heard you and your wife split up. She thought you were spending too much time in the world we shared. The others that wandered there with us tried to make light of it, as did you. I found you by our tree and we talked for hours. You told me some of the other reasons she left, that this world was not the only one you would get distracted by. Your wife understood your desire to be in this world, to help me. She understood that without your help I would have long left not only this world but the one they call “real life”. She and I had spoken about the darkness that had fallen upon me, about the end of my heart. She believed me when I said you had saved me. She did not begrudge me your time, but there were so many others demanding it that she felt she was lost in the crowd. She may have been right, she may not have been, but you never spoke badly of her after she left, and would allow no one else to do so. We spoke about it once only, after that you declared yourself “fine” and moved on.
We spoke less as time went by. Your job took you away from our world more and more. But you would show up once in a while and my message would read “Hey girl” and my evening would lighten, my thoughts improve, the weight of my world would lift from my shoulders, and I would smile. Always. We would talk, a lot, or barely at all, but knowing you were near made everything better. You would catch up to me in the darkest, furthest reaches of our world, and cause them to be filled with light as we hunted our prey. Nothing, no one stood a chance when you were with me.
You became silent. No entries into our world, so I messaged you in the daily world. “Are you ok? I miss you.” You told me you were a little sick, that other worlds were too draining right now but that you’d be back to run with me soon. You promised. I went to your funeral today. You didn’t come back. You left us all.
My heart aches, I can still hear you giving me shit as you laugh when you realized that I had wanted a pet like yours and so did not have one yet. I was too little to have your pet and would have no other until I was big enough. You gave me such a bad time; you showed me where to find one similar to yours but that I could get being so little. I still have him, you helped me get him and so I will always have him. I’ve run the old paths, fought the old fights, returned to the beginning and found a pet like yours. I’ve named him after you so that you will remain, at least in some form, in our world.
You’ll never see this, most that know you will never see this. But I needed to say the words. I miss you, I love you, I will remember you, for always, forever, my JB. ❤