A Blueprint of Something We Never Finished.

It’s hard not to think of him in every passing hour of every passing day.

But then again, I am lying on my bed, wasting away my days.

I roll over onto my stomach, groaning.

Every time I close my eyes, I see the last look I saw on his face, his liquid gold piece of my personal heaven, and I tear up. It rips the hole inside me, almost overcoming me in its degree of enormity.

I fall asleep fully clothed again. Like every night since he left.

I spent the last few weeks of endless afternoons trying to keep the memories of the nights we spent together alive and burning, because I knew that if I lost them, I’d go crazy. And insanity in this wrecked state of mine would kill me. I know it will.

It was almost as if I didn’t know how to function without him anymore.

At first I couldn’t help but wonder if he ever did exist. I wondered if he was just a figment of my imagination. An entire being I created in midst of my lonely, lack of romance teenage life. Because as effortlessly as he waltzed into my life, he waltzed right back out. He was gone, just like that.

I searched everywhere for any piece of him I had from the time we had spent together. Pictures. Shirts I had ‘borrowed’ and never returned. Notes we used to write each other in droning history classes. SMS-es on my phone. I wanted, no, needed to convince myself that he wasn’t something I conjured up from the corners of my mind. That he was real. Not just some fragment of my over-active, completely torn, almost dead imagination.

I expected so much to come from the time we spent together, just a couple of kids, in love, but I expected so much more, because I expected us to be together forever. He’d promised me forever.

Forever. Seemed like such a worthless word now that fate greedily changed her mind.

I used to see my future looking into his eyes.

But now I shake and scream. I cry and whisper. I can barely see. I can hardly breathe. I don’t talk. I don’t care. I don’t do anything. I don’t live.

I wander around in my now empty life with a numbness inside me.

He was my inspiration. He was the music I heard. But now, the music’s stopped, the melody’s redundant and the words are meaningless. And the pain, the throbbing endless pain, doesn’t ever go away. My heart’s stopped and my will is gone.

That’s what time did to me. That’s what 2 months worth of time did to me.

I’m different. I’ve changed. I’m a ‘shell’.

My father calls me that when he thinks I’m not listening.

But I hear everything these days. Even when I don’t want to.

“She’s the ‘shell’ of the person she used to be.”

I’d laugh really if it wasn’t so true. I’d laugh if I were lying saying that I wasn’t. I’d laugh if the thought of humor on a plane where he didn’t exist wasn’t so absolutely heart pounding, throat thickening and head spinning.

Pain. That’s what it is. It’s indescribable. The feeling of being lost, hurt, angry, confused, sad, mad, distressed. It can’t be explained. No matter how hard you try.

And believe me, I’ve tried.

But you can’t explain the way you feel once life happens and you’re left to go through it alone. I know what that pain feels like. Emotional, physical, mental. Every pain imaginable all at the same time, working in a sick, cruel harmony trying to rip me apart from the inside out.

I’ve felt every kind of way of feeling pain when I realized that he’d left me to face life by myself.

I remember the first time I saw Adam.

I was seventeen and it was the first day of my last year in secondary school. He was a transfer student and a complete ass. Arrogant, selfish and conceited, the entire combinations of things you didn’t want in a person.

He cared about no one but himself and I hated him – supposedly. I whined and moaned to my friends and swore ‘I’d never speak to that idiot again.’ Those were my exact words.

But then they’d catch me looking at him in class, in the lab, across the hall, in the canteen, all over the place. His eyes were so piercing that I found myself slowly being captivated by him. His skin was the most beautiful bronze I’d ever seen, not the kind of tan you get from living in a country of such warm weather but a natural pale golden hue.

He barely looked my way though. He had no reason to.

Then, I met him – officially. He was still overconfident, smug and completely self absorbed. But something else shone through, something which compelled me to tell him to drop the cocky act. Which he did. And I was so thankful for it. He let his guard down and I could almost see the pain and vulnerability behind his beautiful brown eyes, the precise shade of brown that was somewhere in between hazelnut liqueur and espresso coffee with the exact amount of dreamy that a person could drown in.

I started noticing the small things he did. Like the cutely irritating way he corrected other people’s speech.

And the way his eyebrows drew together when he was concentrating, creating an adorable indent in his forehead.

And the way he would look at my face intensely every time he made a stupid joke, hoping I would laugh. I always did.

He was suddenly smiling at me and giving me flirtatious looks, passing messages to me in droning history classes and text-ing me at night. He told me about his insecurities, his dreams and his plans for the future.

At age seventeen, being naïve and having never been in a relationship before, this was unchartered waters in unexplored territory – a disaster waiting to happen. And it was.

He found out about my flaws, but not as nicely as how I found his. I had lied about him to everyone. We couldn’t go to the local coffee shop and eat a plate of nasi lemak without raging, because of the way people stare as I am yellow and he is brown. And so I pretended we were something less than what we were, and it backfired. It had hurt him. And I never wanted that. I wanted to protect him from the tinted glasses in which the world viewed us in because yes, we argue that we get along just fine with people of other races who speak different languages, and yes, I can proudly say that some of my closest friends are of different races than I am but everyday in school, I saw the Chinese sitting with the Chinese, the Malays with the Malays and the Indians with the Indians so I never really believed that we are all okay with it just because I am okay with it.

So I lied. About us. About what we were. Because I wanted to protect him. And maybe even selfishly myself. Because I wanted for him to look at me with those beautiful brown eyes forever. I wanted him to fall in love with me. I wanted him to be the person I could go to and tell anything. The person who could come to me at anytime. The person I could hug and kiss without any problems. I wanted him to be the one!

And for a while it wasn’t okay. He told me he wanted to focus on our impending future; college, university, and life beyond. I tried to live my life but I felt horrible. Those months were painful, the absolute worse times of my life. Or so I thought. The midnight cries accompanied with ice cream and teary phone calls to my best friends were painful then.

I had thought that that was pain. It wasn’t. What I feel now, that’s pain.

Months later, after having debated college choices while we were together, planning future career paths and discussing the options, we knew what colleges to avoid to not have to see each other again but ironically we ended up in the same college anyway. It’s a small world. Slowly, we became friends again. And then as randomly as ending up in the same college, he forgave me and asked for us to start over. As more than just friends.

I was so happy. My heart was racing so fast, threatening to jump out of my body. My palms were sweaty and my head was spinning. I fell back in love with him. His eyes were still as piercing as before, his skin just as perfect. This time however, I had him and I swore I wasn’t going to let go. And we worked together Adam and I, we worked through everything together. The ups the downs, the bigotry, the parental objections, everything.

My heart belongs to him and it’s been 2 months. 2 months. I counted them. That’s 8 weeks. 56 days. 1 344 hours. 80 640 minutes. 4 838 400 seconds.

Everyone keeps telling me I need help. That I need to move on, find something to do with my life, instead of this. This being something that I can’t even explain.

But I can’t be anything but it. I’m not anything. Just empty. Broken. Useless.

A half of the whole I used to be, the whole we used to be. A single unit, bound together by something so much bigger than the Earth’s pull on humanity.

They all claim to understand. To know what it is I’m going through. Truth is, they haven’t got a single clue. No one does. Because I can’t even explain it myself. Because I don’t have a clue how to explain what I feel for that one single being that I somehow managed to revolve my entire life around.

My mom tells me not to bottle it in, but to do what I do, write it all out, with a song, a poem, anything. I am a literature major after all; this should make for good writing. Why not get an ‘A’ while going through this heartbreak. But I don’t listen to her. Because I know that deep inside, she was rejoicing; she’d only ever wanted me to ‘settle down with a nice Chinese boy.’ And all the other comments I get from everyone else are all very sad and empathic I’m sure, but I can’t read them. They try to understand, but no one truly does. I bet if he was still here, he would. We just connected. After the initial few months we spent together, I could confidently say he knew me better than I knew myself.

Now, I’m not going to be as conceited as to pretend I didn’t know why he loved me. I knew exactly why. I listened. I cared. I was always there for him, even when he felt like no one else was. Because everyone rolled their eyes at him. He was after all the scion of the family. They thought, they assumed that Adam was just this perfect being. But he wasn’t and he loved the fact that I understood that. I never put any pressure on him and I never placed him on that pedestal he hated so much.

He really was one of a kind. I’d learned that he wasn’t as self absorbed or egotistical as I’d made him out to be at our first meeting. As a matter of fact he had this great heart. Coming from a family where his father had 3 other wives, he was the youngest child of the youngest wife. He tried to please everyone. And it was what killed him.

It was his idea to go that club that night. Some classmate of his from university had invited him to a party that in some club that night. He agreed to go. He persuaded me to go with him. He said that it was going to be fun. He said we’d have a good time because he knew how much I loved music and dancing. He said that we should celebrate finally being able to walk into a club without being afraid of being carded because we were after all finally legal. He said it’d be great though technically he wasn’t allowed to be in clubs. He said it’d be life changing. And he was right. It was.

I think it was the second I walked in that I realized we shouldn’t be there. It took him about a minute and half. I saw the look in his eyes as the bartended offered him a beer. He had looked so disgusted that I laughed. He turned to look at me, making a face.

‘Why are we here again?’ I almost heard him ask telepathically.

I gave him a pointed look. ‘This is your idea,’ I answered aloud.

He chuckled and shrugged it off.

We tried to mingle for exactly fifteen minutes until we realized this was a way too out of control kind of place for a bunch of straight edges like us.

So we left in his car. The car I used to love so much. I wanted to stop at the nearby coffee shop because I was hungry, but instead Adam decided to take me to Asia Café, several roads out of the way because he knew it was my favorite late night snack place. He looked at me and smiled with that sloped one sided smirk that he knew I liked, practically boasting that he knew me that well. I rolled my eyes and looked away. Looking back, I wish that I’d said thanks for thinking of me. Looking back, I wish that I’d told him how much I loved him. Looking back, I wish that I’d told him not to bother and let’s just go home, that I had a tub of ice cream in my fridge waiting for me anyway.

But I didn’t.

Instead I turned on the radio and let it fill the silence as he drove.

I was punishing him. I was annoyed at him for making us go to the untamed party in the ridiculous club with the rowdy people. The music transitioned seamlessly from song to song as I stared out of the window, looking at the moving pictures as we drove through the night.

As one song ended, I flipped the channels restlessly as he drove before landing on a station playing one of my personal favorites.

I almost heard Adam groan as the first few bars of music sauntered out of the radio speakers; he hated the music I liked. He called it sad and depressing. He liked loud and hyper, the sounds of the local indie bands. He was this fanatical supporter of the local music scene; he’d always said that we gave the music from the States too much credit. I didn’t care. It was a rather, in my opinion, unappreciated sad song, Irvine, by Kelly Clarkson. The lyrics had always hit me hard, so I turned up the volume despite his lighthearted protests.

‘Are you there? Are you watching me as I lay here on this floor?’

I think it was that line when it happened. Glass sprayed in every direction. I felt metal slamming against my leg. I felt my body slamming into Adam’s. And I felt the lights and the screams and the sounds. Each screeching detail. I felt my heartbeat go wild. I didn’t feel it when he hit his head against the window, but I felt it now, I feel it as I vividly relive that moment every night as I lay awake.

Everything was a mess. There was pain and I wanted to scream, but I didn’t, I couldn’t. Colors swirled around. Sounds mixing with smells. Nothing was right. There were noises. And movement. But everything was a blur.

Even at the hospital, it was difficult. And everything passed in a haze. I had a cast on my leg, some fractures and bruises covering every part of my body.

Adam wasn’t as lucky but he was alive. In a coma, but he was alive. Barely conscious, but alive.

And so I buried myself in writing. Handing in paper after paper of dark, depressing words in forms of stories and poems, anything that I could come up with to distract myself with, producing the darkest, most tragic material I’ve ever written as he fought for his life.

And then it happened. He woke up. And I thought we could finally heal together, and move on, and be us again. But the nightmare had just begun. Because he had to start all over. I watched as he had to learn to talk and walk again, to sing and smile again, to read and write again. It was hard, but he was alive.

My best friend took care of me while I tried to take care of him.

It was going to be okay.

That was what everyone said. And I believed it. I repeated it to myself as often as I could in my mind. Hoping and praying at the same time that maybe, maybe, if I repeated the words often enough, it would be some sort of a magical talisman that would protect him from harm, protect us from harm. Wishing that if I said it often enough it would actually happen and things would go back to the way things were before. Before we got hit by a drunken truck driver who ran a red light.

He wasn’t hurt, but he was going to jail for two years. Two years! While Adam, the innocent one, the one who went to a party in a club and didn’t so much as take a sip of beer, had to gain back an entire life from scratch. He tried so hard and he was almost back to normal. Almost. But he was there for me, and I was there for him. It took a while, but we were us again. We listened to music, we read books; we lived. We were making progress. And everything was going so well.

Until it wasn’t. Until it changed.

His heartbeat was irregular, the doctors said. They didn’t know why but they operated on him. They tore him open and fixed him – supposedly. They said they did. But they didn’t. His heartbeat was still irregular and they still didn’t know why.

We used to joke and say that it was weird because half of it was with me.

The thing is, half of my heart is still with him, and always will be, and I can never get it back. It’s gone. It’s dead. It’s finished.

Because it died with him.

It was a heart attack and he was twenty-one.

He was supposed to do more. He was supposed to change the world. The sky was the limit, that was what he used to say, and it annoyed me so much. He wouldn’t stop saying that after we’d watched Keith. And now I’d give anything to hear him say it again. Anything to hear him tell the great plans he had in store for himself, for us, for the world.

He was supposed to be mine forever. I was supposed to marry him. I was supposed to have his children. I was supposed to be his. Forever and ever amen. But now, he’s just gone. Just like that. No warning. No nothing. Just gone.

It was going to be okay. It was supposed to be okay. What happened? What did I do wrong? Why did this happen? Why me? The questions ran through my head like the energizer bunny in commercials that wouldn’t stop the first few days after the doctors pronounced him. I recognized it as anger. And it felt good to be angry. It beat the hell out of being in denial, arguing with the doctors who tried to convince me that he was truly gone and never coming back.

And then I’d skipped bargaining and jumped straight into depression.

‘I’m sorry for your loss.’

I know. But what people don’t understand is that ‘my loss’ is more than just Adam. More than just a person. Because I lost myself. My will. My way.

I lost everything.

The only boy I ever loved is dead and nothing means anything anymore. Darkness is welcome and tears are an involuntary reflex. My phone has been shut off and my email is overflowing. But I’m gone. I’m gone with him.

Hot prickly tears run down my cheeks again.

Why aren’t you here with me? Don’t you realize I need you? Don’t you realize you’re everything to me?

I need you Adam.

Where are you?

‘Are you there? Are you watching me as I lay here on this floor?’

“Are you there? Are you watching me as I lay here on this floor?”
Kelly Clarkson, Irvine


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