I try to tell myself that this shouldn’t be the time of year that I think about you the most. I should be remembering your life. That’s what I should dwell on. But in my defense, your life was expected. I’m sure there was time to plan your life. There was preparation involved. At the very least, a due date. When you left, nothing was prepared. You were just gone, simple as that. I think that’s why I think about it so much: I’m still trying to prepare for when you go, even though it’s been five years since you left.
Sometimes I wonder if you somehow knew what was going to happen that night. Did you know it was your last morning? I wonder what it must have felt like to wake up that day. Did you see the same person in the mirror? Did you look or feel different? Did you shave your head that morning like you always did? Did you have plans for that night? Did you keep your night open, just in case the plans changed? I wonder if the world felt or looked different to you. Was the lighting different? Were your eyes cloudy? Was your chest heavy, like mine is this time of year? What were you thinking about? Did you know you were leaving us?
You worked a double shift. You didn’t have to stay if you didn’t want to. But you wanted the extra hours. It was early December. It was Christmas time. You probably wanted the extra hours so you could buy a special someone something special. Whose present were you going to buy? Whose name did you pull? I wonder if I’m right about any of this. Maybe you were just covering someone’s shift. Maybe that’s all it was.
I think about all of the little things that could have happened that day. So many everyday occurrences would have kept you here with us. If you had just sneezed on your way out to your car, you’d still be here. Everyone stops for a second or two when they sneeze. If your shoe laces came untied, you’d have to bend over to tie them, and you’d be by yourself at that intersection. The other car still would have driven right through, the headlights would still be off, the car still wouldn’t have stopped, but you wouldn’t be there at that perfect moment. God, how I wish your car just didn’t start. I wish the battery was dead. I wish the engine was shot. I wish the whole thing were stolen. I wish the transmission was busted. No antifreeze. Cracked head gasket. Sugar in the gas tank. Flat tire. Lahar warning. Alien invasion. I wish it would have taken longer for the windows to defog. But none of those things happened. Everything was perfectly timed, as if it were all prepared by someone.